TOKYO: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday (May 15) that he was confident that prosecutors will be able to build up a strong case to bring charges against former leader Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over graft claims linked to debt-laden state fund 1MDB.
Speaking via video conference to The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Meeting in Tokyo, Dr Mahathir, 93, said: “We are slowly getting to the bottom of things and many of our senior officers are volunteering information accompanied, of course, by documents.
“We think that within a short while we will have a case against him, we will be able to charge him”.
Dr Mahathir added that he is facing the problem of “trying to trust people to investigate him”.
“Some of these people who were with him had sided with him and we do not know who is going to be loyal to this new government,” he said.
When asked if he might be willing to cut a deal to spare Najib, if he were to offer information that can recover part of the US$4.5bil (RM18.19bil) allegedly lost by 1MDB, Dr Mahathir would only say: “No deal”.
Dr Mahathir had personally ordered travel restrictions on Najib last Saturday (May 12) after news spread that the latter was about to fly off to Jakarta for a short break.
The Barisan Nasional government was ousted in a historic election last Wednesday (May 9), marking the first time power has changed hands in the history of Malaysia.
Jailed politician Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is expected to receive a Royal Pardon soon, Dr Mahathir said, which would pave the way for the Pakatan Harapan prime minister-in-waiting to run in a by-election and become an MP.
Dr Mahathir, who first led the country from 1981 to 2003 under Umno, is currently Prime Minister under an agreement with Pakatan that he would eventually hand over power to Anwar, whose Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has the most MPs in the four-party alliance.
He told the conference on Tuesday that he will remain as prime minister for one or two years – and would continue to play a role in the background even after he steps down.
In the immediate future, however, Dr Mahathir said Anwar will play the same role in the PKR coalition as leaders of the other three parties in the alliance. – The Straits Times/ Asia News Network