KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that the Pandora Papers exposé has exposed immoral behaviour but not illegal activity in Malaysia.

He said offshore holdings were not expressly illegal here in Malaysia and that anyone was free to conduct their business abroad.

“It is up to the government (to investigate) but, in terms of the law, it is not wrong; but in terms of morals, it may not be appropriate to have money and keep it abroad,” he said.

Dr Mahathir argued that some might not want to repatriate their funds from business operations abroad as they would incur additional costs.

He said offshore holdings would only be illegal if there was tax evasion involved, reiterating that no current law compelled Malaysians to repatriate earnings and profits from business conducted in other countries.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim previously insisted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob must respond to the exposé that has implicated, among others, a current minister.

On a separate matter, Dr Mahathir said the premature Melaka state election could have been avoided if laws against party hopping had been enacted.

He said he previously suggested that such a law be legislated urgently as defections could cause political instability and undermine democracy.

Earlier this month, four state assemblymen withdrew support for Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali as the Melaka chief minister, leading to the dissolution of the state assembly and forcing an early state election to be held on November 20 alongside the pandemic.