Police to call up Mahathir over 'plot to topple Najib'

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian police plan to call up former premier Mahathir Mohamad and other individuals soon, to record statements from them on an alleged plot to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak, the country's deputy police chief said yesterday.

This follows an allegation by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that Tun Dr Mahathir had suggested Datuk Seri Najib be toppled in a meeting in 2015.

Datuk Seri Zahid himself was defending against an earlier claim by Dr Mahathir that it was Mr Zahid who called for the ouster of the Prime Minister via a no-confidence vote in Parliament in 2015, at the height of the financial scandal involving state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim told the media yesterday that two parties had made police reports about the issue and the men in blue have opened up investigations papers.

The Malaysian authorities have, in recent months, pushed back hard against their critics, who are accused of trying to "topple a democratically elected government", as the country moves closer to the next general election that must be called by August next year.

Asked yesterday whether Dr Mahathir would be called up for questioning, Tan Sri Noor said: "Yes."

"We act on all reports received," he told reporters after attending an event. "We have studied the police reports and have opened investigation papers. The papers will be submitted to the public prosecutor, who will decide what to do next."

Mr Zahid, who is also Home Minister in charge of the police, said he had taped the conversation with Dr Mahathir to prove who is telling the truth.

Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years until 2003, has formed his own opposition party and was questioned by the police previously on some of his statements aimed at the government and its policies.

Mr Zahid, meanwhile, yesterdayoffered himself to be investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over allegations by Dr Mahathir that he had RM230 million in the late 1990s, when he was an Umno Youth leader.

"I am willing to be investigated to correct the perception of that person," Mr Zahid was quoted by Bernama news agency as telling a Kedah Umno delegates' meeting yesterday.

"At the same time, I hope MACC will also investigate his (Dr Mahathir's) assets and the wealth of his family."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 06, 2017, with the headline 'Police to call up Mahathir over 'plot to topple Najib''. Print Edition | Subscribe