Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said any form of donation by a foreigner to the country’s leaders is wrong, in a comment seen as a veiled attack against former prime minister Najib Razak.
“Local politicians should not accept gifts or donations from foreign countries as it opens the way for foreign interference in domestic politics,” Mahathir said.
His comments come more than two months after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission returned RM114 million confiscated from Najib, following a court decision in May.
The High Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the money was obtained from illegal activities or that it had originated from 1MDB.
The prosecution had claimed that the sum, confiscated in cash from properties linked to Najib following his fall from power in 2018, was part of some RM2.9 billion which Najib received through 1MDB between 2011 and 2013.
Najib had claimed that the money found in his account was a donation from the Saudi monarch, and that the RM114 million was being kept by him on behalf of Umno.
Last month, Mahathir said the court decision was welcome news for those accused of stealing.
“In the future, if you steal and you can prove that it (the money) is not from somebody, that it is yours, and that somebody has given you a gift of a billion dollars, then if the court says there is no proof that you have stolen, you keep the money,” he said.
He said today that any prime minister who becomes wealthy after taking office must be held answerable.
“But when the prime minister after assuming office becomes a millionaire, the people are entitled to say he got the money illegally,” he said.
He added that a prime minister cannot accept any donation even if it is made sincerely.
“Therefore, the prime minister’s wealth which was obtained after his appointment is illegal and can be seized by the authorities.”