Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak came under new pressure over allegations of graft at state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd during an annual assembly of the ruling party.
Deputy President Muhyiddin Muhyiddin called on Najib to temporarily step aside to make way for a probe into the troubled fund, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Those who are responsible must be held to account for it. We can’t just let them get off scot free. The country is suffering,” Muhyiddin told delegates to the United Malays National Organization in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
The state fund, which Najib created in 2009, has amassed debts of up to US$11 billion. Najib serves as chairman of the fund’s advisory board.
“And as the person who is involved in all matters concerning 1MDB, I just want to ask, can the prime minister and president of UMNO be absolved from being responsible?” Muhyiddin said.
“Whoever is the cancer and pus in UMNO must be rejected. To save the UMNO, the Malays and country, we must get rid of the cancer and pus.”
Government investigators in July said nearly US$700 million was deposited in Najib’s alleged private accounts via banks, agencies and companies linked to 1MDB.
Najib, 62, has denied any wrongdoing, stressing that he didn’t use any funds for personal gain.
“It’s a donation, a gift. A donation is not illegal under any legal provision,” he told state television network TV3 on Monday.
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