KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has refuted claims that the country's royal rulers have lost their trust in Prime Minister Najib Razak's leadership.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said such allegations against Datuk Seri Najib were irresponsible.
"Don't try to put words into the mouth of the Rulers. If the Ruler lost confidence (in the Prime Minister), they could have just said it. They need not use 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)," he told reporters after attending a meeting at the ministry in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (Oct 8).
"If they don't trust his leadership, they would not have said it as it is," said Hishammuddin.
Hishammuddin's comments came after Malaysia's nine royal rulers on Tuesday issued a joint statement asking the government to quickly conclude investigations into the 1MDB affair and to take "the appropriate stern action" against those implicated, Bernama news agency reported.
The statement - issued a day before the start of the two-day annual Conference of Rulers which began on Wednesday - was a rare joint intervention by the sultans in Malaysia's political arena.
It was also the first time that the sultans of the nine royal houses have commented on the 1MDB issue that has dragged on for more than a year.
"The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the Government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth," they said.
The statement was released by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.
The scandal involving 1MDB, a state investment firm whose board of advisers is led by Najib, has led to the ouster of senior government officials including deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.
1MDB has amassed debts of RM42 billion (S$13.6 billion) in its first five years, and has been struggling to reduce its debts.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin has also welcomed the proclamation by the rulers on the 1MDB issue. "When the Malay Rulers issued the proclamation on 1MDB, it signified that it was a major issue. I deeply appreciate and uphold the proclamation by the Malay Rulers," he had said.