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    Oct 13, 2015

    Mahathir: Wrong to use new law on govt critics


    FORMER Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and some leaders of the ruling United Malays National Party (Umno) jointly condemned the use of a new security law against two men for economic sabotage, saying it is wrong to apply it on government critics.

    Khairuddin Abu Hassan, who had called on foreign law-enforcement authorities to probe the scandal of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was charged along with his lawyer Matthias Chang yesterday, reported Reuters.

    While they are charged under a section of the Penal Code, procedures under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) instead of the Evidence Act will be used, as the case is not considered a normal criminal proceeding, reported news website The Malaysian Insider.

    "They are defining sabotage according to their own needs," said Dr Mahathir at a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday, condemning the prosecution.

    With him at the conference were sacked deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, sacked minister Shafie Apdal, veteran statesman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, former Malaysian Chinese Association president Ong Tee Keat and former Umno leader Sanusi Junid.

    Khairuddin and Chang should be released immediately, said Dr Mahathir, as the use of Sosma against them was an abuse of the legal process and a violation of the law's purpose.

    Mr Shafie said that Sosma was meant to deal with acts of terrorism only, and that such a guarantee had been given in Parliament.

    Prime Minister Najib Razak, who chairs the 1MDB advisory board, has been at the centre of a political storm over allegations of graft and mismanagement at the fund.

    The scandal hit crisis point in July, when media reports said investigators looking into 1MDB found that nearly RM2.6 billion (S$878 million) had been transferred into bank accounts of the prime minister.

    The outgoing deputy chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said the graft-fighting agency is in the midst of investigating the most powerful person in the country in relation to a sum of money worth RM2.6 billion, reported The Malaysian Insider.

    The special task force that was investigating 1MDB, which had not met since July, also needs to be reactivated, The Star also reported Zakaria Jaffar as saying.