Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Malaysian ex-PM accused of blocking 1MDB probe as Mahathir starts work

Malaysian ex-PM accused of blocking 1MDB probe as Mahathir starts work

It was a remarkable comeback for the 92-year-old Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years until his retirement in 2003.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad vowed on Monday to investigate faults that may have been committed by the government toppled in last week's general election, and said all ministries had been instructed not to destroy any documents.

"We accept the people's verdict with an open heart".

Mahathir said his Cabinet would have 25 members and that he would name the remaining members this coming week.

Jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir's nemesis-turned-ally, issued a statement Sunday insisting his People's Justice Party (PKR) still supported the new premier after a senior figure from his party said the cabinet appointments were made without their consultation.

Irrespective of when (some would still say if) Mahathir gives way to Anwar, the consistent force behind the power of the new governing coalition will be Democratic Action Party leader Tan Kok Wai.

He is the first ethnic Chinese to hold the post in 44 years in a country that has to manage tensions between the majority Malay group and minorities, and where economic advantages are given to ethnic Malays.

In an ideal situation, Mahathir's ideological opposition to USA hegemony can form a new alliance with the pragmatic Singapore style neutrality of the Democratic Action Party.

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"I was already informed that the immigration department of Malaysia doesn't allow me and my family to foreign countries", Najib said in a tweet moments later. "Our focus is to help Malaysians".

Lim's main priority will be to reassure investors he can carry through Mahathir's populist spending pledges without increasing government debt. While Mahathir's previous governments relaxed affirmative action measures in order to promote more economic and political activity from minorities, including Malaysia's prominent ethnic Chinese minority, the current government looks to totally reverse these policies and embrace a Singapore style of socio-economic equability based on full legal equality for all Malaysians.

Zeti, 70, became the first female Bank Negara Malaysia governor when Mahathir picked her in 2000, after she served a two-year stint as acting governor amid a controversial move to peg the ringgit to stem capital outflows.

Others on the council are economist KS Jomo and Hassan Marican, former president at state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd, as well as palm oil tycoon Robert Kuok, whose fortune is valued at US$19.9 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations.

In addition to naming Lim Guan Eng, a former state chief minister, as finance minister, Mahathir also named former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as home affairs minister and Mohamad Sabu as defense minister.

Mahathir, former head of the government between 1981 and 2003, chose to return to the political arena after Najib's involvement in the 1MDB scandal and allied with the opposition to win the elections.

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