KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial over former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds proceeded until its conclusion without interference from the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
In an interview with news portal Malaysiakini, Dr Mahathir said the PH government did not conduct a witch hunt against those who were in the then federal Opposition simply because they were in the Opposition, but because action had to be taken against alleged wrongdoings.
“Can you imagine the amount of time and money the government had to spend, to take up these cases? They took so much time and effort that many other cases had to be put on hold.
“It has not been easy for us, but we were patient. There was a conviction only two years after the case went to court. We did not put pressure for it to be expedited. We did not interfere with the judiciary,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini, in reference to Najib’s July 28 conviction for criminal breach of trust, power abuse and money laundering charges in relation to RM42 million of SRC International funds. Najib is currently appealing his conviction.
Dr Mahathir, who became prime minister for the second time from May 2018 to February 2020, was commenting on what he viewed to be positive legacies from PH’s administration.
According to Malaysiakini, Dr Mahathir had listed these as including the peaceful transition of power from Barisan Nasional to PH, the removal of corrupt officials from government, and the replacement of politicians in companies with professionals who were chosen for their abilities.
“Because the people who stole money, mismanaged the companies, lost the funds, were people who lacked capability. Yet, they were appointed because of political patronage,” he was quoted as saying.
In the same interview, Dr Mahathir also noted how the PH administration had managed to maintain stability in Malaysia even as it tackled various issues linked to race and religion, as well as its success in preventing Malaysia from becoming bankrupt amid 1MDB debts and ensuring the nation’s finances remained healthy.