Najib scoffs at Mahathir allegations; says PAC report clears him in 1MDB funds scandal

Najib says Mahathir's allegations against him and 1Malaysia Development Berhad were motivated by personal interest.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak scoffed at corruption allegations raised by bête noir Mahathir Mohamad saying the PAC report on 1MDB irregularities showed RM42 billion was not missing from the troubled fund.

Najib said Mahathir's allegations against him and 1 Malaysia Development Berhad were motivated by personal interest, "not the national interest, and a desire to unseat the Government".

He said the PAC report was "comprehensive, conclusive and definitive" and that it revaluated structural and capital issues at the fund, not financial irregularities.

"Having reviewed it, I note that the PAC's report shows that RM42bil is not missing from 1MDB, as had been alleged by Dr Mahathir," the prime minister said.

The parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released a report on the status of the debt-trapped fund on Thursday, based on the Auditor-General's review of 1MDB's books.

The AG's report, which found the Malaysian state fund's debt had soared to over RM50 billion (S$17.2 billion) by January, has been classified under the Official secrets Act.

The opposition alleges that the PAC obfuscated obvious findings in the AG's report and questions how the prime minister could be freed from the responsibilities over the fund which he founded.

"PM knew the deals absolutely because he signed all these deals. Because 117 actually is the key link... to implicating the Prime Minister. At the very least, he should be held ministerially accountable," PAC member Tony Pua said, differing from the official line of the PAC.

The PAC, which highlighted weaknesses in 1MDB's capital structure and management, put the blame largely on its former chief executive Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

However, Mahathir Mohamad called it a charade saying Shahrol didn't found 1MDB. "1MDB was started by Najib and he is the adviser. Nothing can be done without his (Mr Najib's) agreement, so why punish this man?" Mahathir asked.

Before the PAC report was tabled, opposition figures and sections in the Malaysian media had raised cancers it was more likely to absolve Najib of role in the multi-billion dollar financial scandal.

"The report will lay the blame on the previous management, but leave Najib untouched. There was also strong insistence to include 1MDB's debt rationalisation plan and conclude that it will result in a cash surplus for the company," a source had told the Straits Times.

The PAC report has come handy for Najib as he hangs on to tenuous political balance fighting off allegations that as much as $681 million from the trouibled state fund was transferred into his own personal accounts.

Almost half a dozen countries are carrying out separate investigations into the irregularities surrounding the 1 Malaysia Development Berhard.

Swiss authorities started a probe in February into suspected violation of Swiss laws in the transactions related to 1MDB later found that as much as $4 billion was stolen from the Malaysian state fund.

The opposition alleged that Najib's government classified the A-G's review under the Official Secrets Act as part of its move to scupper all meaningful investigation into the scam.

Malaysia this week arrested a leading member of the opposition on charges under the Official Secrets Act after he made revelations about the ongoing 1 Malaysia Development Berhard (1MDB) corruption probe.

Rafizi Ramli, vice-president of the People's Justice Party (PKR), had allegedly distributed a page from the Auditor-General's classified report on 1MDB investigations.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that more than $1 billion was deposited into Najib's account between 2011 and 2013.