Mahathir records police statement amid probe on criticisms of Najib

Malaysia's former PM Mahathir Mohamad during an interview with Reuters at his office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Oct 22, 2015.
Malaysia's former PM Mahathir Mohamad during an interview with Reuters at his office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Oct 22, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Police investigators on Friday (Nov 6) recorded a statement from former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is under investigation after calling on Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down over a financial scandal.

Represented by a team of lawyers, Dr Mahathir, 90, had his statement recorded at the Al-Bukhary Foundation Building at around 11am.

Speaking to reporters outside the building, he said the police asked him questions which he did not answer.

"They asked questions and I said I will not answer. I did not," he said.

When asked if he was worried about being arrested, he said that it was up to them.

On questions of him quitting Umno, Dr Mahathir casually replied, "No, no. That is my party".

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said three policemen from Bukit Aman took 45 minutes to record Dr Mahathir's statement.

"Together with lawyers Mohd Akmal Afiq Mohamad and Fahmi Abd Moin, Dr Mahathir answered some questions and we advised him not to answer the rest.

He said that the police asked Dr Mahathir general questions, but declined to give specifics.

When asked if it was a witness statement, Mohamed Haniff Khatri said he was not at liberty to say.

"Sometimes we lawyers also wonder why police take statements. If there is evidence, just arrest and charge in court," he said, adding that there was a possibility that police would ask for another statement later on.

However, he added that there should be no more need for further statements as whatever needed to be said had already been said.

Mahathir has become the fiercest critic of Najib, who is facing pressure over a graft scandal surrounding state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that investigators looking into the indebted fund had found that nearly US$700 million (S$985 million) had been transferred into Najib's bank account.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing or taking any money for personal gain and the state anti-corruption agency said the money was a political donation from an unidentified Middle East benefactor.