“The time for change has come” – that was the message from Malaysia’s new leader Mahathir Mohamad after his stunning victory over the ruling coalition in May.
The 92-year-old veteran politician, who served as Malaysia’s prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, returned to politics two years ago. He opposed the political force he was once a part of – the Barisan Nasional coalition – which had ruled Malaysia since its independence from Britain in 1957.
Malaysia is a diverse nation with millions of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians living side by side.
But in recent years, many Malaysians have been frustrated with high-level government corruption and a rising cost of living.
The law must take its course and if the attorney general finds sufficient evidence of acts that are criminal then the attorney general takes the decision. One of our [election] promises was that we would honour the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judiciary, so I cannot interfere with what the attorney general wants to do.
Prime Minister Mahathir accused his predecessor Najib Razak of stealing millions of dollars, and this may have led to Najib’s defeat at the polls.
Najib has denied corruption charges over the disappearance of millions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state investment fund.
The new government led by Mahathir has reopened investigations that were stifled while Najib was in office, setting up a special task force to deal with the allegations.
So what are the implications of the 1MDB investigation? And what’s next for Malaysian politics?
In an exclusive interview, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad talks to Al Jazeera about his fight against corruption and for a more united Malaysia.