Mahathir to continue as Malaysia PM for 1-2 years

Malaysia's newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attends a news conference in Menara Yayasan Selangor Pataling Jaya

Voters turned out en masse to oust Najib, angered at rising living costs, divisive racial politics in the Muslim-majority country and allegations of endemic graft among the country's ruling elite.

Mahathir, who has returned as prime minister after his retirement in 2003 following a 22-year rule, has promised to reopen investigations into the 1MDB fiasco, described by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as "kleptocracy at its worst".

He officially got down to work as prime minister Monday, holding meetings with top civil servants and receiving his first official visitor, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Mr. Mahathir was spurred out of retirement by a corruption scandal at 1MDB, a state fund set up by Najib that is being investigated by the US and several other countries after Najib's associates allegedly stole and laundered $4.5 billion from it.

USA investigators say Najib's associates stole $4.5 billion from the fund, some of which landed in Najib's bank account.

A total of $681 million also mysteriously appeared in Najib's personal bank accounts in 2013 just ahead of a hotly-contested election.

"There have been a lot of complaints against the AG but no formal reports (lodged against him). On that basis we gave him a holiday", he said.

Mahathir, who earlier slammed Apandi's credibility, said the solicitor general will take over Apandi's job while he goes on leave.

Mahathir said it would be hard to achieve consensus and any decisions will be based on the voice of the majority.


The Swiss attorney general's office said on Tuesday that federal prosecutors were seeking quick talks with Malaysian counterparts on how to press forward with the investigation.

The head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, who was appointed by Najib in 2016, has resigned but Mahathir said he could also be investigated.

Mahathir blocked Najib from leaving the country last weekend.

Stocks initially lost 2.7 percent but quickly won back ground and closed 0.2 percent higher.

Local currency the ringgit slipped as much as 0.9 percent against the United States dollar.

But it has not been all smooth sailing since the historic win, with concerns over the slow formation of the cabinet as different parties in the winning alliance jostle for positions.

On the whereabouts of controversial businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, the Prime Minister said tongue-in-cheek that "we roughly know where he is".

Anwar, 70, is serving a second five-year jail term for sodomy, which is a crime in Malaysia. But there was no official confirmation of any possible date of release.

The pardons board in Malaysia's capital will meet on Wednesday to discuss the release of jailed reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim, the palace and his party have said.

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