Former Malaysia PM Mahathir says he may be charged, will continue to ask Najib to step down

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad says there is a possibility that he may be charged.
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad says there is a possibility that he may be charged.PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad says there is a possibility that he may be charged after police questioned him last week over his role at the Bersih 4 rally and asking the Prime Minister to resign.

"Thinking it over afterwards I concluded that they (the police) were trying to make what I did or said in public before were some kind of wrong-doings, to even be some kind of criminal act. Although they did not say I would be charged, but there was just a hint that I might be charged," Tun Mahathir said in his blog on Friday.

On Nov 6, a team of investigators from Bukit Aman questioned the former prime minister for 45 minutes at the Al-Bukhary Foundation building.

Dr Mahathir stressed that there was nothing wrong with attending a street demonstration that demanded the resignation of a democratically elected prime minister, and said that such occurrences were "normal" in a democracy.

He said although he did attend the illegal Bersih 4 rally, there were 50,000 other people who were at the gathering. "If I did something wrong then 50,000 people at that rally also did something wrong."

Dr Mahathir said that the law must be applied to everyone equally and trying to single him out for the offence of attending an illegal rally was unjust and also a form of victimisation.

He added that the police had questioned him about his role in asking Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down, and accused the Prime Minister of trying to make it seem as though calling for his resignation was undemocratic and against the law.

He said that the police had wanted answers to questions but on the advice of his lawyers, the former prime minister declined to answer most of the questions asked.

However, even as he re-examined the questions posed by the police, Dr Mahathir said he could not see how what he said could have been against any law.

Dr Mahathir also said he would continue to ask Datuk Seri Najib to resign, to disbelieve the Prime Minister's explanation about the acquisition of the RM2.6bilion, and criticise the loans taken by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the losses incurred by it.

"This is my right as a citizen. To deny me of these rights would really be undemocratic," he said.

He claimed that stopping investigations on the RM2.6billion in Mr Najib's personal account practically proves that the Prime Minister fears the investigations might prove allegations against him have substance.

"Defamation is only defamation if you say something that is false about a person. Prove that what I said is false then sue me for defamation," Dr Mahathir said.

He compared Mr Najib's time in office to his time when he was premier. "When I was PM I was accused of corruption, of cronyism, of being autocratic etc. I took no action to make any accusation against me a crime. I believe it is normal for such allegations to be made."

Dr Mahathir said that if the people had really believed the allegations against him, they could have easily thrown him out of office. He added that despite attempts to end his premiership, he had strong support for five elections.

"They (the people) did not seem to want to be rid of me. Even when challenged by Tengku Razaleigh, I had more support than him. I revived Umno and it won support and the next election," he added.