U.S. welcomes release of Malaysian political leader Anwar Ibrahim


Police conducted searches through the night and into the morning today at five places linked to ousted prime minister Najib Razak, including the family home where he stays, a senior police officer said.

Since last week's election, which saw the opposition alliance take power for the first time in history, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has made it clear he will investigate missing funds from the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which Najib set up in 2009. He declined to give details.

After a one-day delay, during which the country held its breath, Mahathir was confirmed as the new prime minister late on 10 May, becoming the world's oldest serving elected head of state. Almost $700 million had appeared in his personal bank accounts while billions more are unaccounted for.

When asked whether Najib would be arrested, he said: "There is no indication that they (the police) will do it".

Once Dr Mahathir's protege, Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Almost $700 million was reportedly found in Najib's personal bank accounts, which a royal Saudi family member said was a personal donation. Gani led an investigation by multiple agencies into the scandal at the time, which was later closed after Najib was cleared of wrongdoing.

The Malaysian 1MDB corruption allegations
The Malaysian 1MDB corruption allegations

Mahathir, 92, has said there is sufficient evidence to investigate the scandal at 1MDB.

"The focus on corruption is important because we need to get back money which is still in Switzerland, the US, Singapore and maybe Luxembourg. For this, we will contact the governments of the countries to recover the money there", Mahathir said. "They (the police) also acted professionally", he said.

Najib and his wife have been barred from leaving Malaysia.

As Mahathir officially took up office on Monday, a complaint against Najib was lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commisison (MACC) by Abdul Razak Idris, its former investigations and intelligence director. He said his new government is also seeking to cut wastage in the government, including possibly axing 17,000 political appointees. The tax has been blamed for raising the cost of living and has angered many Malaysians. Mahathir became prime minister after leading a four-party alliance in the election campaign.

"It is hard. It is time consuming and energy consuming and I don't get much sleep but I have to do it because they appointed me as prime minister. She did not mince her words and said she only wanted her husband back safe.' His Majesty told me to cherish her as it is very hard to find such a (loyal and loving) wife", Anwar continued.