Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir might stay up to two years in post

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir might stay up to two years in post

Mahathir - who ruled Malaysia from 1981-2003 - came out of retirement to oust scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak in an astonishing election turnaround last week.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing and was cleared by Malaysia's attorney general at the time, while the fund has consistently denied any misconduct.

The 92-year-old prime minister in the report said Anwar could be given a seat in the cabinet once he was re-elected to parliament.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a televised news conference that the solicitor-general would temporarily take over the duties of Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali.

"We think that within a short while we will have a case against him", Mahathir said. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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 objective. He quit the ruling United Malays National Organization party then and later joined the opposition, accusing UMNO's leaders of shielding Najib from the 1MDB allegations.

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Dr Mahathir personally ordered travel restrictions on Mr Najib on Saturday after news spread that the latter was about to fly off to Jakarta for a break.

Mahathir vowed on Monday to investigate any faults that may have been committed by Najib's government and said all ministries had been instructed not to destroy any documents.

The 1MDB sandal spawned global probes as investigators tracked a money trail stretching from Switzerland to Singapore and the U.S. The Department of Justice alleges that $3.5 billion from the fund went missing.

Najib set up 1MDB in 2009 and previously served as chairman of its advisory board.

Mahathir also said he welcomed foreign direct investment in Malaysia by China and other countries, but such investment must bring in capital and technology and provide jobs for Malaysians.

The former prime minister has been blacklisted from leaving the country and on Monday Mahathir announced he would replace the attorney-general who cleared Najib in the 1MDB scandal in 2016 after a royal Saudi family member said the money was a personal donation to Najib.

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Arul Kanda, chief executive officer of 1MDB, and Najib's former aide, Abdul Razak Baginda, were also barred from traveling overseas, according to the sources who requested anonymity and said they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Low, a friend of Najib's stepson Riza Aziz, had no official role at 1MDB but US investigators say he had considerable influence over its dealings and was often in contact with Najib.

If found guilty, Najib faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine, legal experts said.

Malaysia's new prime minister has broken his election promise to scrap a controversial "fake news" law, saying that he will amend it instead.

"I have given my assurance, I am here as a concerned citizen to give complete support to manage the country on the understanding that we are committed to the reform agenda, beginning with the judiciary, media and the entire apparatus", Anwar said in a news conference at his home after he was freed from custody.

He had been arrested and charged with sedition for allegedly insulting Najib through his caricatures related to the 1MDB scandal.

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