Mahathir faces criminal defamation probe over blog post on Malaysia's Attorney-General

Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police are investigating former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for criminal defamation over a recent blog posting on Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali, it was reported on Monday (Feb 15).

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said police reports have been lodged in recent days over the posting, according to Malaysian Insider.

"We have started investigation for defamation under Section 500 of the Penal Code," the news portal quoted Tan Sri Khalid as saying.

The Star Online also quoted him as saying: "We will refer it to the Attorney-General if there is a case."

Section 500 touches on defamation and carries a two-year jail term, a fine, or both upon conviction.

In a posting on his blog on Feb 5, Dr Mahathir criticised Tan Sri Apandi over his decision not to charge Prime Minister Najib Razak, saying the country's top prosecutor had no credibility.

He also said Datuk Seri Najib should resign if Malaysia were to regain its reputation.

"To clear Malaysia's good name and his own, Najib must prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he is innocent of all the accusations against him. The A-G saying he is innocent means nothing.

Dr Mahathir has been criticising Mr Apandi since the latter's decision last month not to press charges against Mr Najib over the RM2.6 billion (S$870 million) deposit into his personal account and the Finance Ministry-owned SRC International, citing a lack of evidence, the Malaysian Insider reported.

Dr Mahathir said the A-G had acted as both judge and prosecutor in the matter, and accused him of being under Mr Najib's control.

He also criticised Mr Apandi for closing the case on Bank Negara Malaysia's findings on state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd's inaccurate declarations for overseas investments.

Dr Mahathir has led a faction of Umno pushing for Mr Najib's ouster for the past year over the financial scandals, among other issues.