Malaysia's former premier sues Najib over misuse of power
Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad escalated his feud with Prime Minister Najib Razak, filing a lawsuit alleging misuse of power.
Najib "actively and deliberately" sought to derail investigations by local agencies into troubled state investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd., plus hundreds of millions of dollars that ended up in his private accounts in 2013, according to a statement by Mahathir's lawyers. Mahathir and two former officials of the ruling United Malays National Organisation are suing Najib in the Kuala Lumpur High Court. They are seeking damages of at least 2.6 billion ringgit ($651 million) plus interest to be paid to the government.
The plaintiffs are seeking to "reverse the destruction of the rule of law and the sanctity of the provision of our Federal Constitution, which Najib Razak has completely destroyed to almost beyond repair," according to law firm Haniff Khatri, which is representing the trio.
Mahathir, who was Malaysia's longest serving leader when he stepped down in 2003, has waged a public campaign to get Najib out of office, warning the coalition led by the premier's party risks being voted out at the next election which must be held by 2018. He led opposition and civil society groups this month in calling for the removal of Najib through non-violent means, a move the government said showed the depth of "political opportunism and desperation."
"Mahathir has run out of options" after failing to oust the prime minister through UMNO and parliament, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Salleh Said Keruak said in a statement. "He is clutching at straws."