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Mahathir says will bring case against Najib ‘within short while’

[TOKYO] Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that he was confident that prosecutors will be able to build up a strong case to bring charges against former leader Najib Razak over graft claims linked to debt-laden state fund 1MDB.

Speaking via video conference to The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Meeting in Tokyo, Tun Dr Mahathir, 92, said: “We are slowly getting to the bottom of things and many of our senior officers are volunteering information accompanied, of course, by documents. We think that within a short while we will have a case against him, we will be able to charge him.”

Dr Mahathir added that he is facing the problem of “trying to trust people to investigate him”.

“Some of these people who were with him had sided with him and we do not know who is going to be loyal to this new government,” he said.

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When asked if he might be willing to cut a deal to spare Datuk Seri Najib, if he were to offer information that can recover assets to recover part of the US$4.5 billion (S$6 billion) that is allegedly lost by 1MDB, Dr Mahathir would only say: “No deal.”

Dr Mahathir had personally ordered travel restrictions on Mr Najib last Saturday after news spread that the latter was about to fly off to Jakarta for a short break.

Former Prime Minister Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government was ousted in the historic election held last Wednesday (May 9) that marked the first time power has changed hands in the history of Malaysia.

Jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim will receive a royal pardon on Wednesday, Dr Mahathir said, which will pave the way for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) prime minister-in-waiting to run in a by-election and become an MP.

Dr Mahathir, who first led the country from 1981 to 2003 under Umno, is currently Prime Minister under an agreement with PH that he would eventually hand over power to Mr Anwar, whose Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has the most MPs in the four-party alliance.

He told the conference on Tuesday that he will remain as prime minister for one or two years – and would continue to play a role in the background even after he steps down.

In the immediate future, however, Dr Mahathir said Mr Anwar will play the same role in the PKR coalition as leaders of the other three parties in the alliance.

 

THE STRAITS TIMES

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