Date
25 March 2017
Mahathir Mohammad refused to answer questions when interviewed by Malaysian police over his criticism of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Photo: Reuters
Mahathir Mohammad refused to answer questions when interviewed by Malaysian police over his criticism of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Photo: Reuters

Mahathir questioned by police over criticism of Najib

Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad was interviewed by police over his criticism of Prime Minister Najib Razak but refused to answer questions.

Three officers took Mahathir’s statement  and asked “general” questions for about 45 minutes, his lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Haniff said the statement-taking “went well” but Mahathir said he didn’t respond to their queries, according to Bloomberg.

“They asked questions, I said I will not answer any question,” Mahathir told reporters. “That’s all.”

Authorities opened several investigation papers after reports were made against the country’s longest-serving leader, Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi said last month.

The investigations relate to the penal code on defamation.

Mahathir was represented by three lawyers and was advised not to answer some questions, Haniff said, adding he couldn’t give details on what was asked.

Mahathir, 90, has been on a public campaign to get Najib out even before a funding scandal linked to the prime minister fueled political tensions and led thousands of anti-government protesters to rally in the capital.

The allegations against Najib have unnerved foreign investors in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, contributing to a sell-off last quarter in Malaysian markets.

Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar has been reported as saying Mahathir would be questioned over comments he made at the anti-government rally held at the end of August.

The former leader made brief appearances at the two-day protest organized by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.

“I don’t know” what I am investigated for, Mahathir said Friday. It’s “up to them” to decide, he said.

Mahathir said over a year ago he was withdrawing support for Najib, citing worsening race relations and a tougher business environment after the premier took office in 2009.

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