KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday (May 11) announced that the government will carry out investigations on the Attorney-General, the Election Commission (EC) as well as the country’s anti-graft body for corruption.
Promising to reduce corruption in Malaysia to a “very minimum level”, the 92-year-old said the government’s intention is to “go for people who have shown a tendency to be corrupt or who had committed known corruption”.
Dr Mahathir, who was sworn in as prime minister the night before, said the new government was aware that it was impossible to completely eradicate corrupt practices in the country.
“For example, the election should have been free and clean but we find that this election was not clean at all. People were being bought.
“The country’s constituencies’ boundaries were changed, all these things are worse than gerrymandering. It is really to favour the (previous) government,” he said at a press conference.
The government will also study the redelineation exercise carried out by the previous administration, he added.
“Where possible, we will change back to the original boundaries and if we have a two-thirds majority we will take into consideration the different distribution of people, the number of people in each constituency,” Dr Mahathir said.
On that note, he said the government will look into whether Election Commission chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah was involved in corrupt practices or was being biased.
The government would also study whether the country’s anti-graft body, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), had been fair or otherwise.
“If any money is paid to ministers or anyone to cross over, we will regard that as corruption. Just like paying money to get votes. MACC seems to have ignored this throughout the election…we will properly investigate all of this. Because we want to follow the rule of law…” pic.twitter.com/G1SGor3dv9
— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) May 11, 2018
“If we find that they are biased or in favour of any group – including ourselves – we will have to change them and as we promised, the new major heads of government would be vetted by Parliament.”
On whether the new government will look into the 1MDB investigation, which was given the all-clear by the Attorney-General, Dr Mahathir said the government is looking into the matter.
“We have to look into who the Attorney-General is. At the moment the Attorney-General has undermined his own credibility. He in fact has hidden evidence of wrongdoing and that is wrong in law.
“We have to do what is permitted by the laws of this country,” said Dr Mahathir.
“We will have to consult the administrators and the lawyers to find out whether what we do is in keeping to the provisions of the law of this country, but our intention is to go for people who have shown a tendency to be corrupt or who had committed known corruption.”
During the conference, Dr Mahathir also said that jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will be given a full pardon and released soon.