Malaysia: Ex-prime minister Najib faces new corruption complaints

Anti-Fake News Bill 2018

Najib denied any wrongdoing and the attorney general cleared him following local investigations.

Mahathir, who has returned as prime minister after his retirement in 2003 following a 22-year rule, has promised to reopen investigations into the 1MDB fiasco, described by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as "kleptocracy at its worst".

In an interview with Reuters, panel member Lim Chee Wee said then Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali had been presented with evidence by MACC in 2015 that Mr Najib had received RM42 million from 1MDB unit SRC International.

The newly elected Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Bin Mohamad, said he may stay on as leader for one or two years, after earlier agreeing to step aside, following coalition leader Anwar Ibrahim's release from prison.

"We think that within a short while we will have a case against him".

Najib's popularity dropped sharply over the past three years, partly due to a scandal over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund from which billions of dollars were allegedly siphoned off.

The declassified report found, among others things, that 1MDB used 288 million ringgit ($73 million) of government funds to pay interest on its debt, which went against the monies' original goal.

Following his removal from power, Najib announced his resignation as president of the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) party and the once-ruling Barisan Nasional alliance.

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On the eve of last week's election, Anwar penned a note to supporters urging them to back Mahathir, who had brought him into government in the 1980s.

"For the time being, I will run the country", Mahathir said, adding that he will lead for "one or two years". Mahathir hasn't said since the election if he will proceed with the plan.

The hold-departure order against officials from the toppled administration came two days after Mahathir issued orders to bar Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country. 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 do not want to be saddled with extradition requests", Mahathir said, referring to Najib.

Low, a friend of Najib's stepson Riza Aziz, had no official role at 1MDB but USA investigators say he had considerable influence over its dealings and was often in contact with Najib. He has warned that Najib will have to "face the consequences" if found guilty of wrongdoing.

Mahathir also faced criticism for saying that a controversial law passed before the election that punishes "fake news" with up to six years in jail would be reviewed rather than revoked.

"Even though we support freedom of press and freedom of speech, there are limits", he said in a live television broadcast. Singapore has punished banks over lapses related to 1MDB, seized assets and jailed bankers over the scandal.

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