Malaysia PM To Extend Tenure, Probe Najib's Regime

Mahathir gets down to work

Mahathir gets down to work

He told the conference on Tuesday that he will remain as prime minister for one or two years - and would continue to play a role in the background even after he steps down.

Mahathir, who was Malaysia's prime minister from 1981 to 2003, led his four-party alliance to victory against Barisan Nasional in last week's general election, ousting a coalition that had ruled the Southeast Asian nation for six decades.

Mahathir did not say why he would step down after the short period of time, but his age could be one reason.

Dr Mahathir added that he is facing the problem of "trying to trust people to investigate him". He also became the world's oldest leader to head a government.

Mahathir said Anwar, who was jailed on sodomy charges in a conviction criticized as politically motivated, will be freed Wednesday.

Anwar, 70, is serving a second five-year jail term for sodomy.

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 USA and several other countries after Najib's associates allegedly stole and laundered $4.5 billion from it.

Najib is accused of misappropriating billions of dollars through his pet project state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and making deposits into his private accounts worth up to $1 billion.

Asked about other possible crimes, Mahathir said: "We can not do everything at the same time at one go".

1MDB is now under worldwide probes in at least six countries, including Switzerland and Singapore, over charges of money laundering and bribery. Reuters was unable to reach Najib himself, his wife, or other family members and close associates on Saturday night.Reuters had seen about 20 police officers entering the marble-floored lobby of the Pavilion Residences apartment block in the Malaysian capital, just as Mahathir was holding a news conference to announce key members of his cabinet.At least a dozen other plainclothes law-enforcement officers were there to help them.

In his Tuesday remarks, Mahathir said whether Najib would serve time in jail would depend on the results of a probe into the scandal. "We think that within a short while we will have a case against him, we will be able to charge him".

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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