Mahathir denies calling for foreign interference in Malaysia's affairs

Tun Dr Mahathir responded to news of four police probes against him, saying he has faced investigations twice before.
Tun Dr Mahathir responded to news of four police probes against him, saying he has faced investigations twice before.

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, who is facing four separate police investigations, has denied calling for foreign interference in the domestic affairs of the country in a bid to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak.

"I did not ask any foreign governments to interfere. I said all the means of redress in this country have been shut down by Najib. So I will tell the foreign press," Tun Dr Mahathir told reporters yesterday.

He also responded to news of the four probes against him, saying that he had already faced investigations twice before. In February, he was questioned by police for defamation after several police reports were lodged against his blog post questioning the credibility of the Attorney-General. He was also probed for comments he made at last year's Bersih protest rally, where he alleged that leaders of the ruling Umno had taken bribes.

 
 

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar had disclosed earlier yesterday that police had started four probes against Dr Mahathir when asked whether police were going to investigate the former premier's comments calling for foreign interference.

"Some (investigations) are incomplete, some we have already brought for discussion with the Attorney-General (Mohamad Apandi Ali).

"No decisions have been made yet," Tan Sri Khalid told reporters, adding that some of the probes were for sedition.

INVESTIGATIONS AGAINST MAHATHIR

Some investigations are incomplete, some we have already brought for discussion with the Attorney-General. No decisions have been made yet.

TAN SRI KHALID ABU BAKAR, Inspector-General of Police

In an interview with The Weekend Australian newspaper last Saturday, Dr Mahathir had said there was little hope Datuk Seri Najib would step down without outside pressure.

"Normally I don't like foreign interference in Malaysian affairs but our avenues for redress have been closed completely.

"So now we have to allow foreign interference in our domestic affairs. If it is legal, legitimate, yes. If they have information, they should give information. And if there is money laundering, just because it is Najib it doesn't mean they should suspend that law," said Dr Mahathir, as quoted by the paper.

He had also called on the Australian government to question ANZ Bank on the alleged transfers of US$681 million (S$917 million), said to be a Saudi "donation", into Mr Najib's personal account in AmBank, in which ANZ Bank has a 23.8 per cent stake.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier said Dr Mahathir's remarks would cause the people to lose respect for the former prime minister.

He said when Dr Mahathir helmed the country, he had reminded the government and Umno leaders to obey their leaders.

"Previously, he (Dr Mahathir) was angry with us for using international relations to the extent that there were people who were accused of being foreign stooges," Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid said, as quoted by Bernama on Sunday.

The Umno Veterans Club had also called for action to be taken against Dr Mahathir under the Sedition Act. Its secretary Mustapha Yaakub said it could not allow any citizen to sabotage his own country.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2016, with the headline 'I didn't call for foreign interference in Malaysia's affairs, says Mahathir'. Print Edition | Subscribe