In 1987, as UMNO Youth Chief, Najib defended special Malay privileges in a widely documented speech where he vowed to bathe the keris (Malay dagger) with Chinese blood. Shortly afterwards, the government launched a crackdown on extremist elements, termed Operation Lalang, although Najib was not detained. At the same rally, banners were hoisted carrying phrases such as "revoke the citizenship of those who opposed the Malay rulers", "May 13 has begun" (referring to the May 13 racial riots in 1969), and "soak it (the keris) with Malaysian Chinese blood". 
He had a close aide, Abdul Razak Baginda, who was involved in a high-profile murder case of a Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaaribuu. While Abdul Razak Baginda is one of the three accused currently on trial, Najib was reportedly implicated in a court affidavit that he was in a photograph together with Abdul Razak Baginda and Altantuya.  However, Najib has been completely spared from investigation by the Malaysian authorities, raising doubt to the judicial process. A more detailed legal analysis can be found in an article by Malaysia Today. 
He recently declared that Malaysia has, "never been secular because being secular by Western definition means separation of the Islamic principles of in the way we govern the country.”
The Malaysian National Service, a brainchild of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been plagued with poor management right from its inception. As of May 2008, there have been 16 deaths in the Malaysian National Service. Najib, on two occasions within a year, has demonstrated nothing but indifference in regards to these deaths. On one occasion, he was quoted as saying that "only" 14 children have died, in an attempt to minimize the bad press being received for these deaths. When recently pressured by more calls to suspend the program due to the 16th death, Najib responded that it was not feasible to stop the program since "many parties are involved". That last statement only served to fuel more irritation amongst Malaysian parents and the public in general, and reinforced the belief that Najib is more concerned about keeping the gravy train running and awarding contracts to politically connected contractors to run the training camps, than he is about the death of children.
In many of the controversies about him, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi identified Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak on 6th April, 2008 as his probable successor in line with the ruling party's tradition of political succession. Because of his implied involvement in the controversial Altantuya case, where the court trial has gone through numerous irregularities and delays , this has been seen by many as disastrous to Malaysia if the succession were to materialise.