KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Saturday that the "very serious" allegations that his boss, Prime Minister Najib Razak, received hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds in his personal bank accounts must be investigated by authorities.
"This allegation is very serious and can affect Datuk Seri Najib's credibility and integrity as prime minister and head of government," Tan Sri Muhyiddin said in a statement.
"Therefore, it is my stance that the relevant investigative authorities, such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara Malaysia, Royal Malaysian Police with the cooperation of the Attorney-General's Chambers, must act immediately to investigate all allegations made against Datuk Seri Najib."
His comments came after Wall Street Journal published an article on Friday quoting an "unnamed investigator" claiming that almost US$700 million (S$943 million) in state funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) went into the prime minister's personal bank accounts through government agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB.
The newspaper cited documents which it said it had obtained, including bank transfer forms and flow charts prepared by government investigators, as the basis for its report.
Since the allegations are "personal in nature", Mr Muhyiddin said Mr Najib must "give a convincing explanation or denial" and he asked Mr Najib to seek legal recourse.
"I welcome the fact that Datuk Seri Najib has denied the accusations against him.
"If he is confident the allegations were untrue and defamatory, it is appropriate that he take legal action against those who make allegations in order to clear his name and restore the government's credibility".
In his statement, Mr Muhyiddin also urged everyone to "remain calm" while such an investigation is being conducted. "I'm sure the truth will emerge as a result of the investigation by the authorities".
In a Facebook posting late on Friday night, Mr Najib said: "Let me be very clear: I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents - whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed.''
"At no point have those making these allegations offered any evidence. All we have heard is that these allegations are based on leaked documents and unnamed investigators. Not once has the source of these documents ever been shown, neither have the documents themselves been provided for verification by lawful authorities."
Mr Najib accused former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad of being behind the latest attack.
"I believe Tun, working hand in glove with foreign nationals, including the now discredited political attack blog Sarawak Report, is behind this latest lie,'' he said.
"These attacks began when I refused to implement Tun Mahathir's personal demands. I refused, because I do not believe it is right for Malaysia to be ruled by proxy.
"Tun then created a crisis when he recklessly claimed that RM42 billion was missing from 1MDB, when in fact these are audited debts backed by RM51 billion audited assets," he said.
"It is now clear that false allegations such as these are part of a concerted campaign of political sabotage to topple a democratically elected Prime Minister."