Demonising critics shows ‘all is not well with 1MDB’, says Dr M

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 5): Bloggers demonising critics of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) shows that "all is not well" with the Malaysian strategic investor, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, adding the attacks were political in nature.

Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister also said he still does not support Datuk Seri Najib Razak for several reasons, including creating 1MDB as "borrowed money cannot be regarded as wealth".

"I am a supporter of Umno. I am still a member of Umno. But I believe in criticising any wrong thing done by anyone, Umno included. However, I have openly stated I do not support Dato Seri Najib," Dr Mahathir wrote in his popular blog last night.

"And one of the many reasons why I don’t support is the creation of 1MDB," he added, referring to the strategic investor that has now piled up RM41.9 billion in debt since it was set up in 2009.

The 89-year-old rejoined Umno when Najib took over the party presidency in 2009 from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who earlier succeeded Dr Mahathir in 2003. Abdullah stepped down after incessant criticisms from Dr Mahathir.

"Borrowed money cannot be regarded as wealth. And there are many things done with 1MDB money that are just plain wrong. Government should not be indulging in buying and selling shares to make money for itself.

"I disagree with the 1MDB and I will continue to criticise it and anything that I think is detrimental to the good governance of this country," the veteran politician wrote in his blog.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that bloggers had attacked The Edge Media Group owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong for allegedly shorting the ringgit because of criticisms against 1MDB. Tong has denied accusations of shorting the currency.

A blogger registered as "ahrily90", who started the attacks against Tong, had also demonised Dr Mahathir and Najib's banker brother Datuk Seri Nazir Razak for their criticisms of 1MDB.

"The demonising by the bloggers is political. The intention is to undermine my credibility.

"But I will continue to ask where is the money which has been brought back from Cayman (Islands). Why is there a need to borrow money to pay debts when you have RM8 billion?" Dr Mahathir said, adding there will be more questions until all questions are answered.

1MDB said last month that it redeemed more than RM4 billion from investments in segregated portfolio companies registered in Cayman Islands but have not stated if the money has been repatriated back to Malaysia.

"I suspect that because my questions cannot be answered, they resort to demonising the questioner. Doing this simply adds to the suspicion that all is not well with 1MDB.

"This is my opinion. I don’t speak for anybody else," Dr Mahathir said.

In his posting, the retired prime minister said he was surprised at The Star's report about some bloggers attacking the critics of 1MDB as mainstream media would not report anything that may reflect badly on the "authorities".

But he also wrote that he was not surprised at the bloggers' activities, saying he had known of it for some time.

"These bloggers were once the critics of the government. But for some greatly unknown reason they have changed. I had noticed this change.

"But I accept their right to criticise me. I am therefore not surprised at their change of direction," said Dr Mahathir, who used to be supported by the bloggers in his criticisms of Abdullah's tenure as prime minister.