Malaysian police yesterday said they were hunting suspected contract killers after a bank founder was gunned down in broad daylight in Kuala Lumpur, fueling fears of rampant violent crime in the nation.
Police insisted that the streets were safe after Bahrain-born Hussain Ahmad Najadi, 75, was shot and killed on Monday as he walked to his car in the Malaysian capital.
His wife was also shot and wounded in the attack, one of several shootings around the country that were splashed across newspapers yesterday. Public concern has mounted in Malaysia over proliferating reports of brazen killings, armed robberies and other crimes that have further tarnished the much-criticized police force, and led to accusations the government was covering up the extent of the country’s crime problem.
Police said Najadi — who in the 1970s founded Arab Malaysian Development Bank, one of Malaysia’s largest banks, and became its chief executive before leaving in 1982 — may have been killed over a disputed land deal. He was shot at close range in the chest and lower abdomen and died on the spot, Malaysian media reported.
His 49-year-old Malaysian wife was wounded in the arm before the attackers fled in a taxi from the crime scene in the heart of the capital’s commercial area, the Star newspaper said.
Police said they believed three men were responsible for the attack.
“The shooter, we have his photo, but the men behind, we have to investigate. We believe the shooter is a contract killer,” Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh told reporters yesterday.
Mohmad insisted police could maintain public safety.
“Security forces have things under control. If you want to go out late at night, we are still safe,” he said when asked about the rising violence.
Malaysian media have reported a number of other unrelated killings, some described as contract-style murders, in the capital and elsewhere.
Among them was an attack on the head of a non-governmental organization who has accused authorities of manipulating crime data.
R. Sri Sanjeevan, the head of MyWatch, a crime and police watchdog, was in serious condition in hospital after being shot by unknown assailants on Saturday. Media reports have speculated that Sanjeevan was targeted because he planned to expose police links with drug syndicates.