Malaysia’s royal rulers have called for a quick, transparent investigation into troubled state-fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in rare comments from the monarchy that presents a new challenge to the prime minister, Najib Razak, as he fends off corruption allegations. The fund, whose advisory board is chaired by the prime minister, has amassed debt of more than $11bn and is at the centre of a political storm after allegations of graft and mismanagement.
1MDB has denied wrongdoing. Investigations being conducted by Malaysia’s anti-graft agency and other organisations have dragged on with no conclusion in sight.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the sultans of nine states and governors of the remaining four said the government’s failure to give convincing answers on 1MDB may have resulted in a “crisis of confidence”. “The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth,” the rulers said, according to Bernama state news agency.
The comments, which come ahead of a two-day gathering of the Conference of Rulers starting Wednesday, are unprecedented as the sultans assume a non-political role in Malaysia and rarely speak on the functioning of the state.