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Mahathir says A-G Apandi lied about 1MDB

Former Malaysian premier-turned-government critic Mahathir Mohamad claimed yesterday that he was privy to classified information on the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), although such knowledge is a criminal offence.

Writing in his blog, the new chief of the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance said this was the basis for accusing Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali of hiding evidence of graft in 1MDB's dealings by placing the official reports on the scandal-hit fund under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

"There are comments that I know the contents of reports by Bank Negara Malaysia, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Auditor-General to Apandi. Yes, I do know. I know Apandi lied," he wrote in Malay.

The 92-year-old said he was told of the details by former deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin, who was in turn briefed by Mr Apandi's predecessor Abdul Gani Patail in 2015.

Mr Mahathir and Mr Muhyiddin have formed a new party together after the latter, along with Mr Abdul Gani, were removed from the government in July 2015 after revelations that US$700 million (S$953 million) linked to 1MDB were deposited in Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal accounts.

Mr Mahathir wrote that the state secrets were shared and discussed within the party leadership.

His revelation could open the door for both him and Mr Muhyiddin to be arrested and even jailed under the OSA, lawyers said.

"Even possession of a secret document is a crime, let alone publicising it," constitutional lawyer Syahredzan Johan told The Straits Times.

Opposition lawmaker Rafizi Ramli was convicted in November 2016 for breaching the OSA by publicly disclosing documents from the Auditor-General's report on 1MDB during a press conference last year. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison but is appealing the decision.

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