Think tank’s work in Malaysia a direct interference, says Najib

Najib Razak wants authorities to launch a probe into a claim that a US think tank engaged with the former opposition to bring down his government. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak has called for a probe into ties between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and a US think tank which said it had been engaging with the coalition before the historic general election which brought down Barisan Nasional (BN) in May.

Najib said if true, such a cooperation was more serious than the letter from a former top Malaysian intelligence officer to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which PH said amounted to treason.

“This is direct interference in our electoral process,” said Najib, adding that similar claims of interference in the US presidential elections had sparked an investigation by authorities there.

“This is a very serious matter. We should not allow foreign interference in a domestic process,” the Pekan MP told reporters in Parliament today.

Daniel Twining, who heads Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI), told a forum last month that it had been working with the Malaysian opposition since 2002, including the PH coalition which took power in the May election.

Twining said the US stood to benefit from the new government in Putrajaya from the very start, including in the decision to review large-scale projects involving China, Washington’s main rival in the Asian region.

IRI later denied that it had supported efforts to undermine the Najib government, saying its activities in Malaysia were non-partisan and geared towards strengthening the democratic process.

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