Dr Mahathir fires another salvo at prime minister Najib over 1MDB

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia's former leader, Tun Mahathir Mohamad, has continued the drumbeat of criticism against current prime minister, Najib Razak.

In his latest salvo, Dr Mahathir has asked all the people supporting Mr Najib to also declare their support for the controversial 1Malaysia Development Bank (1MDB), which has accumulated debts of RM42billion (S$15.66 billion), The Star news portal has reported.

Dr Mahathir's remarks on Thursday on his blog, chedet.cc, follows days of similar attacks by the former premier on Mr Najib, which included a plea for him to step down.

The sniping led many, including Umno party division heads as well as leaders of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition to come out in support of Mr Najib.

"I am not asking anybody to support me. But I am going to ask all those who support Najib to declare they all support his 1MDB, 1MDB borrowing RM42 billion and his inability to answer where the money is when asked," Dr Mahathir wrote on Thursday.

"I would like to ask the supporters whether their support means the disappearance of RM42billion is okay, that there is no necessity to at least explain where the money is", The Star quoted him as saying.

Dr Mahathir also said he had asked Mr Najib simple questions, but instead of answering them, the Prime Minister had responded by asking people to support him.

Dr Mahathir said those supporting Mr Najib should declare their support for Low Teik Jho, also known as Jho Low, who purportedly managed 1MDB's investments, according to The Star.

1MDB, established by the Malaysian Government in 2009 to drive strategic investments, has come under heavy criticism for accumulating debts. Mr Najib has ordered an official inquiry into the accounts of the fund.

The standoff between Dr Mahathir, who still commands influence inside Umno, and Mr Najib is similar to the former premier's spat with Mr Najib's predecessor, Abdullah Badawi.

After a poor election showing in 2008, Mr Badawi stepped down in favour of Mr Najib in 2009. Dr Mathathir has said that Umno and Barisan Nasional will not win the next election with Mr Najib at the helm.