Malaysian ex-PM faces defamation probe over blog posts

Police launch probe after receiving reports on Mahathir Mohamad’s comments critical of current PM, attorney general who cleared him of charges

Malaysian ex-PM faces defamation probe over blog posts

World Bulletin / News Desk

Malaysian police announced Monday that a former prime minister has been placed under investigation after posting comments critical of the country’s current premier and the attorney general who cleared him of charges over an alleged $680 million political donation.

The inspector general of police said his team had received several reports over posts on Mahathir Mohamad’s blog in which he disputed the credibility of PM Najib Razak and Attorney General Apandi Ali in connection to the "donation” found in the premier’s personal bank accounts.

"The standard operating procedure is that we will start investigations based on the reports. The reports were lodged one or two days ago," Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters in capital Kuala Lumpur.

"We have started an investigation for defamation under Section 500 of the Penal Code," he added.

Under Malaysian law, Section 500 of the Penal Code addresses defamation and carries a two-year jail term, a fine, or both upon conviction.

Earlier this month, Malaysia's longest serving prime minister, Mohamad, had called for Razak’s resignation, saying he was detrimental to the country's image.

Mohamad -- Razak's once mentor turned fiercest critic -- insisted in a blog post that "Malaysia must be freed from a prime minister with such a bad reputation if it is to regain its reputation."

Mohamad also said Ali's decision last month to take no further action on Razak pertaining to the $681 million political donation had been "meaningless" as the chief prosecutor "had no credibility".

On Jan. 26, Ali stated that Razak had not committed any crimes in connection with the $681 million political donation from the "Saudi royal family", as well as a further 42 million Ringgit (nearly $10 million) deposited in his accounts from the finance ministry’s SRC International Sdn Bhd.

He also said $620 million of the donation had been returned, and ordered the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to close two ongoing probes on Razak.

The MACC had earlier opened three investigations into Razak over the funds, and two into SRC International.

The move came after international media released reports in July quoting documents from a probe into state investment vehicle 1MDB -- Razak's brainchild, of which SRC is a subsidiary -- that claimed that $700 million (or 2.67 billion Ringgit) from 1MDB ended up in Razak's accounts.

The premier had originally responded to the allegations by insisting that he had not swindled funds for personal gain, whether it be from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities.

In August, the Attorney General Chambers revealed that the funds were not from 1MBD, but political donations to the Razak-led United Malays National Organization (UMNO) for the party to remain in power during the 2013 general election.

While politicians within UMNO had proudly declared that the funds came from "Middle East Royals" who wanted the party to retain power, Razak remained silent on the matter, insisting that political donations are confidential and donors would only be revealed if opposition parties agreed to follow suit.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Şubat 2016, 09:17