Mahathir under probe for defaming Malaysia's Attorney-General in blog posts

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Ex-premier had accused Attorney-General of lacking credibility for clearing PM Najib of graft in 1MDB saga

GEORGE TOWN • Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is under investigation for defaming the Attorney-General in blog posts, criticising his failure to bring corruption charges against Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The feud between Malaysia's past leader and current one has gripped the nation for almost a year, with Tun Dr Mahathir repeatedly calling on Datuk Seri Najib, his former protege, to step down over a financial scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In a Feb 5 posting on his personal blog, Dr Mahathir wrote that Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali had "no credibility" after he cleared Mr Najib of any criminal offences or corruption arising from a graft probe into a US$681 million (S$952 million) deposit in Mr Najib's personal bank account.

SWEAR ON THE QURAN

He should not try to cheat by vowing in his heart something else, and swearing aloud something else. That would be a double sin.

DR MAHATHIR MOHAMAD, challenging the Attorney-General in a new blog post yesterday.

Mr Najib replaced the previous attorney-general and appointed Tan Sri Apandi just weeks after a Wall Street Journal report on 1MDB revealed the deposits of vast sums in Mr Najib's accounts.

Mr Apandi closed investigations into Mr Najib earlier this month after concluding that the money was donated by a member of the Saudi royal family, and most of it had been returned.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday that several police reports had been lodged against Dr Mahathir over his attack on Mr Apandi.

"We will investigate according to the proper legal procedures. If there is a case to be made, we will discuss it with the Attorney-General's Chambers and take further action if needed," Tan Sri Khalid told reporters in Penang.

Dr Mahathir yesterday used his blog account to issue his own challenge to Mr Apandi.

"As a good Muslim, he should swear on the Quran in a mosque witnessed by mosque officials and the public that the reports did not implicate Najib in any way," wrote Dr Mahathir. "He should not try to cheat by vowing in his heart something else, and swearing aloud something else. That would be a double sin. He will go to a worse hell."

Earlier this month, Najib loyalists within the ruling Umno forced Dr Mahathir's son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, to quit as Menteri Besar of the northern state of Kedah.

Dr Mahathir was also questioned by police last November after he made a surprise appearance at an anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur and called for Mr Najib to resign. Dr Mahathir claimed yesterday that a warning by an Umno leader against his constant criticism of Mr Najib was "as clear a warning as can be of the wish to arrest me".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2016, with the headline 'Mahathir under probe for defaming A-G in blog posts'. Print Edition | Subscribe