New Malaysian PM Mahathir Removes Attorney General

Malaysian leader Najib Razak faced the media but did not give a clear concession of defeat

Malaysia's former scandal-ridden Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife have been barred from leaving the country, immigration officials have said.

In addition to naming Lim Guan Eng, a former state chief minister, as finance minister, Mahathir also named former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as home affairs minister and Mohamad Sabu as defense minister. Najib's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which ruled Malaysia uninterrupted for 61 years since independence, was routed at the polls by a Mahathir-led opposition alliance.

Malaysia's currency fell to a four-month low and the stock market fell 1.7 per cent on its first day of trade following new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's stunning win in the country's general election last week.

The fund was started by Mr Najib when he took power in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts and is being investigated in the USA and several other countries. US authorities say officials of 1MDB embezzled $4.5 billion from the fund, some of which was discovered in Najib's personal bank account. It was a remarkable comeback for Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years until 2003 and is now the world's oldest leader at 92.

He was also accused of halting a probe into a retirement fund.

He said some people were anxious about him taking the "bold" step but added: "I'm already 69 years old".

"I pray that after this divisive period, the country will unite", he said.

Mahathir said Monday the attorney general has been told to go on leave pending an investigation of his role in allegedly covering up the massive scandal. Dzulkifli Ahmad was appointed by Najib in 2016.

Mahathir announced Monday that he is replacing Attorney General Apandi Ali with the country's solicitor-general.

Over the weekend, Mahathir put Najib and his unpopular wife Rosmah Mansor under a travel ban as speculation mounted they were about to flee the country.

Malay Mail, on the other hand, reported that the new government is giving priority to local companies in infrastructure projects are among the slew if policies, including other measures such as welcoming FDIs only for technology and work creating investments; setting conditions for foreign companies' participation for infrastructure projects; PH parties must get permission from the Cabinet before they can accept any donations; proper definition of fake news; promise of Press freedom; and limiting the Cabinet to a maximum of 30 members.

Anwar, in jail on sodomy charges his supporters say are trumped up, is expected to be freed on Tuesday.

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