KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today declined to field questions on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), pointedly saying that discussing the controversial firm could land the speaker in jail.
“I just want to warn you I can't comment on 1MDB because talking about 1MDB is now a crime,” he told reporters at the start of the press conference.
The former prime minister is a vocal critic of Putrajaya and its handling of the 1MDB controversy, but has remained silent this week amid what appears to be a clampdown on those who have used the topic to target Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Among the casualties were Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was replaced as deputy prime minister in a Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday following an outburst over 1MDB last weekend.
Dr Mahathir today also said he has viewed a leaked video of Muhyiddin claiming that Najib admitted to receiving US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) in his personal accounts, but similarly said he could not comment on the matter without inviting the authorities attention.
“I'm not supposed to talk about that... it is now illegal. I didn't say anything ya!” he cautioned reporters again.
In the video leaked two days ago, Muhyiddin is seen telling guests at his Damansara Heights house the prime minister acknowledged receiving US$700 million into his personal account.
Malay Mail Online was unable to immediately verify the authenticity of the leaked video, but former minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir who was present at the meeting confirmed the incident captured on camera was genuine.
Putrajaya this week embarked on what appears to be a cull of officials who were not supportive of the manner it was handling the allegations against Najib over 1MDB.
Besides Muhyiddin, others removed include Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who was dropped as Attorney-General, and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal who was replaced as rural and regional development minister.
1MDB is currently under investigation by a special taskforce comprising the Royal Malaysia Police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara Malaysia as well as the Attorney-General's Chambers.