Malaysian ex-PM says ready to die over anti-govt claims

Mahathir Mohamad says won’t back down from criticizing current PM after being questioned by police in defamation probe

Malaysian ex-PM says ready to die over anti-govt claims

World Bulletin / News Desk

A former Malaysian premier asserted Wednesday that he would rather "die in jail" than stop calling out the “ill administration” of the country’s current leader, after being questioned by police in a defamation probe.

Last week, police announced that Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had been place under investigation after posting comments critical of PM Najib Razak and the attorney general who cleared him of charges over an alleged $680 million political donation.

Mohamad – Malaysia’s longest serving premier with a 23-year term – insisted Wednesday that he would never back down from his mission of forcing the resignation of Razak, his former protege.

"If you stick your neck out, it will be chopped. If that’s how my life ends, in jail, then so be it," he told reporters in capital Kuala Lumpur after being questioned by police.

“I’m prepared for the consequences as my concern is for the people and this country, and for this, I will continue to speak my mind even if it means going to Sungai Buloh [prison]."

According to the 90-year-old, he cooperated the best he could with three officers who questioned him at his office for two hours, asking around 30 questions about his blog and his postings.

He said he had declined to answer some questions “unrelated to the investigations”, telling the officers that he “will only answer those in court".

Earlier this month, Mohamad – a former president of the long-ruling party, a post now held by Razak – had called for the premier’s resignation, saying he was detrimental to Malaysia’s image.

He also said the attorney general’s decision last month to take no further action on Razak pertaining to the $681 million political donation allegedly from Saudi royals had been “meaningless” as Apandi Ali "had no credibility".

The inspector general of police later announced that several reports had been filed over Mohamad’s blog posts, prompting police to start a defamation probe under Section 500 of the Penal Code.

Under Malaysian law, Section 500 of the Penal Code carries a two-year jail term, a fine, or both upon conviction.

The ruling party, United Malays National Organization, then denied involvement in the probe, saying they had no intension of having Mohamad imprisoned, but underlining that laws must be respected.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Şubat 2016, 14:38