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Mahathir attacks M'sian PM Najib over debt-laden state fund

Mahathir Mohamad has lashed out at Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yet again.

In his blog on Tuesday (April 7), he questioned Mr Najib's refusal to address concerns on state fund 1MDB​.

The scathing attack came just three days after he called for Mr Najib to step down.

Dr Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, withdrew support for Mr Najib last year after the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lost a popular vote in the 2013 elections.

'Many scandals' surrounding PM Najib

The 89-year-old has recently attacked Mr Najib over problems with the economy and the debt-laden 1MDB.

He has also called for an investigation into the 2006 murder of a Mongolian model which involved two officers of Mr Najib’s personal security detail.

"There are so many scandals surrounding him now. His popularity is now even lower than when he led BN in 2013," Dr Mahathir said in his blog post.

Criticism over S$15.7b debt

The former prime minister also questioned the excess fees paid by state property-to-energy firm 1MDB to its advisers Goldman Sachs, and the fund’s level of debt. 

"A prime minister must be seen to be clean and able to explain and answer questions and to be good for the country,”said Dr Mahathir, who led Malaysia for 22 years until 2003.

"Najib cannot even answer and has not answered any question, beyond exercising elegant silence or saying the allegations are not true."

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Mr Najib, is facing criticism over its debt of nearly 42 billion ringgit (S$15.7b) and alleged financial mismanagement.

Mr Najib has ordered an official enquiry into the accounts of the fund.

'I want to see the party win'

Dr Mahathir said he remained loyal to the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) but disagreed with its leader, Mr Najib.

"It is simply because I want to see the party win. It will not win if Najib is the leader," he said.

The stand-off between Dr Mahathir, who still commands influence inside UMNO, and Mr Najib is similar to the former leader’s spat with Malaysia's previous prime minister, Mr Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

After a poor election show in 2008, Dr Mahathir and other UMNO leaders moved against Mr Badawi resulting in Mr Najib becoming the next prime minister in 2009.

Source: Reuters

malaysiaMahathir MohamadNajib Razak