KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the government must ignore advice about the budget given by a "convicted criminal" in Parliament who has been found guilty of corruption.
Referring to MP Najib Razak, another former premier, Dr Mahathir told an online news site that Parliament has tainted itself by allowing Najib to speak.
"Anywhere in the world, we cannot find a convicted criminal who comes to the House and advises the government. This is amazing," Dr Mahathir told The Malaysian Insight news site as reported on Friday (Nov 13).
"Only in Malaysia, we can be proud that prisoners are the government's advisers. This goes to show this government is so inefficient that convicts can reprimand (the government). This act has tainted the House," he added.
This followed Dr Mahathir's remarks in Parliament on Thursday (Nov 12), where he asked why the "convict" Najib postponed his ongoing corruption trial on other charges linked to state fund 1MDB, but had the time to speak in Parliament.
"It is very strange that his trials have stopped but the convict can be present in Parliament to deliver his speech," Free Malaysia Today online news service quoted Dr Mahathir as saying during the debate on Budget 2021.
Najib was in July sentenced to 12 years' jail and fined RM210 million (S$68 million) after being found guilty of all seven charges in the first of his five trials relating to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. He is appealing against the sentence.
His other court cases linked to 1MDB have been postponed by the court.
Najib, who is still an MP, was recently appointed chairman of the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC), which has 42 MPs, including 39 from Umno.
He spoke in Parliament for more than an hour on Tuesday as the BNBBC's head, telling the government that his faction won't support the budget for next year unless its proposals are met.
Last week, the Malaysian government which is backed by Najib's party Umno, revealed that 1MDB still had an estimated RM32.3 billion in outstanding debt as at September.