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Amid MACC's spotlight on sons, Dr Mahathir says corruption exists during his time but he wasn't involved

Publish date: Thu, 23 May 2024, 09:56 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged that corruption occurred during his tenure as the nation’s leader but maintained that he was not personally involved in such practices.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia today, he said his family members were also not involved in any corrupt practices.

“During my time, there was corruption. But I was not involved in corrupt practices.

“I made sure that even my family cannot be involved in a government business because I might be accused of nepotism.

“So far, they have only asked my sons to make the declaration of assets. The investigation does not involve demanding that I declare my assets,” Mahathir said, adding that he was willing to make a declaration if asked by authorities since he has nothing to hide.

He said he and his sons would cooperate fully with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

On May 7, MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki told reporters that the anti-graft agency has no intention to summon Dr Mahathir for questioning about his assets despite ongoing investigations.

The MACC had in January ordered the former two-time prime minister’s two businessmen sons, Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir and Mirzan Mahathir, to declare their wealth accumulated over the years from when their father was in office.

Mokhzani and Mirzan had issued a joint statement in April, saying that the MACC order was only for them to help investigate their father’s wealth.

“We understand the whole exercise is to determine if our father Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad abused his position as prime minister to enrich us.

“We are keen to disprove these accusations and want to prove that whatever we have earned over the years are through legitimate means, through proper channels and without any crime being committed,” they were reported saying.

Section 36(1)(b) of the MACC Act 2009 empowers the MACC to compel anyone with dubious wealth to declare their assets, whether or not they are in his possession 30 days from the date of the notice.

Both Mokhzani and Mirzan have been given several extensions to comply.

Dr Mahathir had previously held a press conference where he suggested his son had been the subject of political vengeance by incumbent Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government, who has also launched a probe on former finance minister and friend Tun Daim Zainuddin.

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