Salleh: Withdrawing 1MDB suit, another Mahathir failure

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PETALING JAYA: Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has failed once again to “subvert Malaysia’s democracy”, an Umno minister said, following reports that a class action suit against 1MDB had been withdrawn.

In a brief statement, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak also predicted that other attempts by the elderly statesman to sabotage the state-owned investment firm and damage the country’s economy in order to topple a democratically-elected government will continue to fail.

The former Sabah chief minister went on to suggest that Mahathir, who is Prime Minister Najib Razak’s fiercest critic, should just give up.

“It must be frustrating for Tun Mahathir that each of his attempts to subvert Malaysia’s democracy has failed. One of the hallmarks of a true leader is knowing when to quit quietly.”

Earlier today, it was reported that lawyer Matthias Chang and former PAS vice-president Husam Musa withdrew the class action suit which they had filed in August, “on behalf of all Malaysian citizens”, against Red Granite Pictures and its principals Joey McFarland and Riza Aziz, who is Najib’s stepson.

Their suit had followed the action of the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) on July 20, over what US prosecutors said was more than US$3.5 billion diverted from 1MDB.

The DoJ filed civil suits in Los Angeles seeking to seize US$1 billion of assets purchased with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB and transferred into the US using shell companies.

The Hollywood Reporter quoted court documents filed yesterday that stated the duo “moved to voluntarily dismiss the suit without prejudice, so they could take another shot at it”.

In their suit, Chang, a former political secretary to Mahathir, and Husam sought damages and the return of property and other assets which they alleged were purchased using money stolen from the government-owned 1MDB.

The suit said the money raised through bond offerings by 1MDB was used to fund Red Granite, which financed the film Wolf of Wall Street.

Salleh, who is the Umno treasurer, also said that the class action suit filed in the United States against 1MDB by the duo was based purely on the allegations in the US Department of Justice civil complaint and on “false smears published by the Wall Street Journal”.

He also found it strange that the Wall Street Journal and other Western media have not reported about the voluntary withdrawal of the class action suit by Chang and Husam, despite the brouhaha it generated when it was filed last month.

“The reality is that it was baseless from the start, a pure publicity stunt to manipulate public perceptions,” Salleh said, adding that the government will not be distracted by Mahathir’s increasingly desperate attempts to unseat Najib.

Red Granite was founded in 2010 by Riza and his friend McFarland.

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