etvfutures.com
etvfutures.com May 22, 2018


After Anwar's pardon, when will Mahathir let him take power in Malaysia?

16 May 2018, 10:20 | Opal Carroll

Mahathir Mohamad insisted that he respected the right to freedom of speech but the move is likely to alarm liberalsLAI SENG SIN REUTERS

Mahathir Mohamad insisted that he respected the right to freedom of speech but the move is likely to alarm liberals

Najib's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition last week suffered a shock defeat to an alliance of parties headed by elderly Mahathir Mohamad, ending the corruption-mired regime's six decades in power.

Voters turned out en masse to oust Najib, angered at rising living costs, divisive racial politics in the Muslim-majority country and allegations of endemic graft among the country's ruling elite.

He officially got down to work as prime minister Monday, holding meetings with top civil servants and receiving his first official visitor, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Abdul Razak Idris - former intelligence and investigations director of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission - lodged reports with the body alleging Najib tried to stop the probe into losses at 1MDB.

1MDB is now under global probes in at least six countries, including Switzerland and Singapore, over charges of money laundering and bribery.

If found guilty, Najib faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine, legal experts said.

Lim, a lawyer, was part of an eight-member panel tasked in early 2016 with reviewing investigations by the MACC into a reported transfer of $681 million into Najib's bank account, as well as the transactions linked to SRC.

Najib, who was chairman of 1MDB's advisory board, denied any wrongdoing and he has been cleared of any offence by Malaysia's attorney general. Both police officers said investigators were not primarily interested in the luxury items but were chasing documents that could be vital for investigations into Najib's administration.Kuala Lumpur's police chief and an official police spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.Najib said earlier on Saturday that he was going overseas for a week to rest, but just minutes later the Department of Immigration announced that he and his wife had been barred from leaving the country.

"There have been lots of complaints against the attorney-general", Mahathir told reporters.

"Once investigations are carried out, then we can suspend him and prevent him from leaving the country", he said.

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"When he is on leave, the solicitor-general will cover his job as the attorney general".

In a country that has never seen a change of power in its history, 92-year-old Mahathir led the opposition alliances to their first victory in 60 years last week.

Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing in connection with alleged graft involving 1MDB, and insisted that RM2.6bil deposited in his personal bank account was a donation from a Saudi royal.

The Election Commission, seemingly stacked with Najib loyalists, announced that the opposition coalition had won a majority of parliamentary seats, and the Malaysian king provided an audience to Mahathir and named him prime minister. Local currency the ringgit was steady against the dollar.

But there have been differences between the two over the cabinet formation, and Mahathir made it clear on Tuesday that he was in charge.

Mahathir appointed three ministers at the weekend despite previously having said he would name 10 cabinet members.

Anwar, the opposition's de facto leader who is now in jail for a sodomy conviction considered to be politically-charged, agreed to work with his former enemy Mahathir.

Anwar, in jail on sodomy charges his supporters say are trumped up, had been widely expected to be freed on Tuesday, paving the way for him to eventually become premier.

Malaysia's new prime minister has broken his election promise to scrap a controversial "fake news" law, saying that he will amend it instead.



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