Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir might stay up to two years in post

Lester Mason
May 15, 2018

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is seen on video conference screen during the Wall Street Journal CEO Conference in Tokyo, Japan May 15, 2018.

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. He has agreed to hand over power to jailed reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim but has not previously given any timing. Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor have been blacklisted from leaving the country. Anwar's People's Justice Party (PKR), which has the most seats in the alliance, is demanding a proportionate number of posts in the cabinet.

"I expect him to play the same role as the leaders of the other three parties". Mahathir, who has been sworn in as prime minister for a second innings, had promised during the campaign to secure a pardon for Anwar and then step down and give him the prime minister's post. Anwar was sacked, and he launched a "Reformasi" (reform) movement to end the ruling alliance's race- and patronage-based government that brought tens of thousands of supporters on to the streets. However, he was stopped in his tracks by charges of sodomy and graft, which he denied, but for which he was jailed.

Mahathir was spurred out of retirement by a corruption scandal at 1MDB, a state fund set up by Najib that is being investigated by the US and several other countries after Najib's associates allegedly stole and laundered $4.5 billion from it.

Jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim will receive a royal pardon on Wednesday, Dr Mahathir said, which will pave the way for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) prime minister-in-waiting to run in a by-election and become an MP.


Mahathir, asked about the possible prosecution of his predecessor, Najib, said he thought that "in a short while" the government could have a case against him.

He announced that he would appoint a new anti-corruption commission chief and replace the attorney-general who had cleared Najib of wrongdoing in a multi-billion-dollar scandal linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund.

Dr Mahathir said a full investigation would be completed before any legal action was taken against Najib. "We think in a short while, we will have a case against him, we will be able to charge him", Mahathir said.

"Any country would like to restrain immigration from coming in large numbers", he said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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