Dr Mahathir said his administration will attempt to reclaim the bulk of 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) funds as part of its action plan to address the country’s debt level.
- If evidence sufficient, action could be taken to prosecute Najib
- Government has to honour 1MDB debts
- No cutting of any deal with Najib
The Malaysian Government will contact several countries to recover the allegedly misappropriated funds from 1MDB, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said it was important for the government to recover the remaining money in Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and perhaps in Luxembourg, with an estimated of US$4.5 billion in the United States.
“In the past, there was no confession from Najib’s government that the money came from 1MDB. No one confessed that it was Malaysian money, so no claim was made.
“The amount is quite big and will help us settle some debts,” he told a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here today.
Earlier today, Singapore authorities said they are fully prepared to extend further assistance to Malaysia on 1MDB-related transactions
Yesterday, it was reported that Swiss federal prosecutors are seeking quick talks with Malaysian counterparts on how to press forward with an investigation of suspected corruption surrounding scandal-hit 1MDB.
Dr Mahathir said the focus on corruption was important especially 1MDB as well as money that had been misappropriated by the previous government.
He said he had been briefed by the police and Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamed and read the audit report which has been declassified as an open document.
“We will take action and, if necessary, we will lodge a police report. If we can make an arrest, we will arrest those guilty. For this, there is no difference between the people to be charged,” he said.
Asked whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Najib, Dr Mahathir said if the evidence was sufficient, action could be taken.
To a question whether Najib would be placed under house arrest, the Prime Minister said Najib was just not allowed to travel abroad.
On whether Najib was given immunity, Dr Mahathir said: “We will follow the rule of law and the law applies to everyone irrespective of being a Prime Minister.”
Asked if the present government would honour the 1MDB debts, he said: “Yes we have to. If the debt implicates the government, we have to pay. Otherwise, we will be sued and made bankrupt.”
On Tuesday, when asked by the Wall Street Journal in an interview telecast live in Japan if he would cut a deal with Najib in exchange for information to recover assets and to bring back billions of dollars, Dr Mahathir flatly rejected any form of deal-cutting.
In another development, he said any arrested person would not be questioned until 4 or 5am like before.
“I want to explain that the elements of torture and so on, cannot happen. They need to be questioned within a reasonable period and not (until) 4 or 5am or kept in a dark room.
“There are a lot of stories of (people) being arrested and tortured, and if there is death, we will hold an inquest as stipulated under the law,” he said.