KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Federal Government will investigate if there is any element of corruption in state assemblies and party-hopping following the country's 14th general election, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"There is evidence of some manipulation," the Prime Minister told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Friday (May 11) after a Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting.
"Parti Warisan Sabah had 35 seats, but after numerous recounts by the Election Commission, this was reduced to 29," he said.
"There was an attempt to get people to cross over by using money, and this is corruption.
"We will investigate this and if we find any evidence of people being paid to cross over, we will treat it as corruption and investigate all these allegations.
"We are not taking revenge but upholding the law. If we find evidence of money being used to get votes, we will move to declare that election invalid," he said, adding that political corruption would damage the country and its democracy.
He said the Pakatan Harapan Government will investigate government agencies for corruption.
When asked if there would be a reshuffle among government agency heads, Dr Mahathir said that those who are found to be corrupt will be dealt with, in accordance to the law.
He said that he will “look into” Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah, well as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“Our intention is to go for people who have shown a tendency to be corrupt or who have committed known corrupt acts,” said Dr Mahathir at the press conference after the alliance's presidential council meeting.
He also took aim at the country’s Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who he claimed had “hidden evidence of wrongdoing” and “undermined his own credibility”.
In response, Tan Sri Apandi said his conscience was clear. “My conscience is clear,” he was quoted as saying the Malaysiakini online news portal.
“What is of utmost importance is that the rule of law shall prevail and whatever action to be taken or done by anyone must be in accordance to the law, in particular, the supreme law, i.e. the Federal Constitution,” he said.
In 2016, Mr Apandi had cleared Dr Mahathir’s predecessor Najib Razak of any wrongdoing after international investigations claimed RM2.6 billion found in Mr Najib’s personal accounts had originated from debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Dr Mahathir said that the Government would also “study” whether the MACC is fair or not.
“If we find that they are biased or in favour of any group, including ourselves, we will have to change them,” he said, adding that new heads of government agencies will be appointed by Parliament.
He said that he would also investigate EC chairman Mohd Hashim to determine if he is biased or involved in corrupt practices.
“(If he is), we will have to take action against him,” he said. Dr Mahathir said this was not about revenge, and that any action taken against agency heads will be done in accordance with the laws of the country.
“We will have to consult the administrators and the lawyers to find out whether whatever we do is keeping with the laws of the country,” he said.