Mahathir to stay up to two years as Malaysia PM

  • Mahathir to stay up to two years as Malaysia PM

Mahathir to stay up to two years as Malaysia PM

In an astonishing U-turn a year ago, Anwar shook hands with Mahathir and agreed to join forces to oust scandal-tainted Najib.

Yet rather than give up, Anwar worked from his prison cell to forge a new opposition alliance by ending the two-decade feud with Mahathir - a gamble that paid off when the alliance won the May 9 polls and ended the National Front's 60-year grip on power. "For the time being, I will run the country".

During the campaign, Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years in a previous stint from 1981, promised to step aside and make Anwar prime minister once he was pardoned. After he was sacked, Anwar was arrested, convicted and jailed on corruption and sodomy charges. He said the reformist politician, after his release, would need to seek a seat in parliament and then might be given a cabinet post, but would play the same role in the coalition as leaders of the other three parties in the alliance except Mahathir himself, who is the prime minister.

Dr Mahathir also ruled out detention without trial for Mr Najib. He consistently denied the charges. He is now serving a five-year sentence on a second sodomy conviction.

In his book "A Doctor in the House", published in 2011, Mahathir recalled how he transformed his country from an agricultural backwater into an industrial powerhouse that became the 17thlargest trading nation in the world.

"China congratulates him on assuming the post of Prime Minister". But he also defended his decision to dismiss Anwar. "I may have made many mistakes, but removing Anwar was not one of them". "There will be no special powers given except as are given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers", Mahathir said.

The 1MDB state fund set up by Najib is being investigated in the United States and several other countries.

In December 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions described the corruption allegations as "kleptocracy at its worst" and the U.S. Department of Justice said about $700 million had been siphoned off from 1MDB and had gone to Najib's bank accounts.

Mahathir was asked in an interview by video link whether a deal could be cut with Najib, who is alleged to have overseen the looting of government investment fund 1MDB.

His new attorney general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in 2016, saying the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family and that most of it had been returned. He said that numerous senior officers under Najib have been bringing in documents. Both police officers said investigators were not primarily interested in the luxury items but were chasing documents that could be vital for investigations into Najib's administration.Kuala Lumpur's police chief and an official police spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.Najib said earlier on Saturday that he was going overseas for a week to rest, but just minutes later the Department of Immigration announced that he and his wife had been barred from leaving the country.

We are slowly getting to the bottom of things and many of our senior officers are volunteering information accompanied, of course, by documents.