‘No harm’ to those detained over 1MDB probe, says PM (Updated)

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has assured that those detained by the police in relation to investigations into national sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will not be abused throughout their period in detention.

Confirming that the police and Auditor-General had presented credible evidence to detain those involved, he said the government will lodge police reports soon to facilitate their arrests.

"It is clear that there are more offences that have been committed following the recently released report. We will lodge police reports and ensure arrests but those who are detained will be treated well," he told reporters at Yayasan Perdana, here, today.

However, Mahathir did not reveal how many or when the suspects in relation to the financial scandal will be detained.

When asked on the details of former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail's meeting with him, today, Mahathir confirmed that Gani had initiated plans to prosecute former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak for the 1MDB scandal but was unable to do so as he was replaced on the very morning the papers were being filed.

The Pakatan Harapan government, he said will bear the debts incurred by 1MDB, if the previous government had been the guarantor for the loans.

"We have to (bear the loan repayments) if it implicates the government, the government has to pay.

"However, the focus on (settling) the corruption (probe) is important as we need to get back money which is still in Switzerland, United States, Singapore and maybe Luxembourg.

"As such we will contact the governments of these countries to recover the monies there," he said, adding that he is not certain of how much of monies is there to be claimed.

On another matter, Mahathir revised the government's stand on the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, stating that it will be repealed instead of the initial stance of the controversial law being revised.

"We do not have any desire to continue with the fake news law as we have to study it and other laws related to freedom of speech," he said.

On the running of the cabinet, Mahathir said he expects the names of the 10 core ministries to be announced by this week as to ensure that the Cabinet meetings can take place.

"We will also add 15 more Ministries to have a full Cabinet of 25 Ministries," he said without giving out an exact time frame.

While admitting that the appointment process is expected to take more time, Mahathir expressed hope that he will be able to convene parliament sittings as soon as possible to kick start Pakatan Harapan's government policies.

He added that he expects to start working from the Prime Minister's Office instead of Yayasan Perdana by next week.

He also confirmed that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will not be involved in the new Cabinet despite his release on Wednesday.

"His role would be in the PKR party. I am hoping to have a meeting with the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council tomorrow (Thursday) where the council will decide whether there will be any changes to Anwar's role in the coalition," he added.