Mindef land swaps: Nobody above the law, says Dr Mahathir

14 May 2019 / 17:11 H.

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) today said the police will investigate anyone, even the prime minister, over any involvement in the Defence Ministry’s (Mindef) land-swap deals.

“Nobody is above the law,“ Dr Mahathir said when asked to comment on the summary report on Mindef land-swap projects even during his first term as the prime minister.

Asked whether any action could be taken against retired officers if they were found be involved in wrongdoings in the land swaps, Dr Mahathir said: “Yes, the government still can take action”.

At a press conference after chairing the eighth Cabinet Select Committee on Anti-Corruption (JKKMAR) meeting here today, Dr Mahathir stressed that the intention was to bring reports on wrongdoing done in the past, and legal action would be taken against those involved whether they were in office or not.

It was reported that Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu had recently disclosed political interference in land deals within his ministry dating back to 1997.

On foreign news reports saying global investors were losing patience with Pakatan Harapan’s slow reforms, Dr Mahathir said the government was performing well and investments were coming in as Malaysia had scored high on various international indexes.

“Obviously, Malaysia is a good country to invest in but (some) news report Malaysia is bad as if this is a war country,“ he said, adding that the media should not report fake news.

On whether the government would declassify reports on the May 13, 1969 incident, Dr Mahathir said the government would study that.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday said that no formal request had been made to declassify the May 13 reports.

On that day, Malaysia saw racial riots in the aftermath of the general election that year.

On Malaysia’s move to deport an anti-monarchy Thai woman despite having United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee status, Dr Mahathir said: “If there is a request, we have to send back. (We are a) good neighbour.”

It was reported that Praphan Pipithnamporn is an asylum-seeker registered with UNHCR, but was arrested by Malaysian police in April on Thailand’s request before being deported last week.

Asked on the statement by Cuepacs, the umbrella union for civil servants, that political appointees were interfering in the duties of civil servants, Dr Mahathir said there could be a difference in opinion and sometimes just some rebuke. - Bernama

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