Former PM Mahathir Mohamad storms back to power in Malaysia

Citizens were already sick of racially divisive politics in the multi-ethnic country and graft scandals under years of rule by the coalition

The Prime Minister said despite reviewing the contracts, particularly those involving China-funded projects, especially the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Malaysia would still maintain relationships with the countries involved without favour.

"I have been informed that the Immigration Department does not allow me and my family to go overseas".

The corruption scandal revolves around a state fund, known as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, commonly known as 1MDB.

The coalition's defeat in the election at the hands of an alliance led by his one-time mentor Mahathir Mohamad amounted to a political quake, which toppled an increasingly authoritarian regime that had ruled the country for six decades.

He was due out in June but Mahathir told a press conference that King Sultan Muhammad V, during a meeting Thursday with opposition leaders, had indicated he was willing to grant him a royal pardon immediately. An angry crowd had descended on an airport near Kuala Lumpur where the couple had been expected to leave from, in a bid to stop them from departing.

Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday named three ministers in his "small cabinet" and announced the establishment of a "council of elders" to advise the government, taking the first step in governing the country. Riot police were stationed by the gate of the airport where it was believed Najib would enter. It was only allowed to pass after those inside rolled down a window to prove Najib was not in the van.

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"The government are anxious they could be sensitive and important, and could be taken out of the country".

At the heart of this rising tide of resentment has been the1MDB scandal, which has gripped the country for years.

But it started to attract negative attention in early 2015 after it missed payments for some of the $11 billion it owed to banks and bondholders.

Reports also stated that Mahathir is going to appoint a finance ministry adviser to "restart the 1MDB probe and bring back the money".

TRT World spoke with Ibrahim Suffian, Director of the Merdeka Center - an independent Malaysian research firm - who said Malaysian people demanded change and got it at the ballot box. "I respect the directive and will remain with my family in the country".

"There is sufficient evidence that an investigation into certain things. done by the former prime minister has to be done and, if necessary, the rule of law will apply", he said. I apologise for any shortcomings and mistakes, and I thank you, the people, for the opportunity to lead our great nation.

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