Prime Minister Najib Razak should take legal action against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) over its allegations to clear his name and to safeguard the country’s image, says Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The home minister said the disclosure by WSJ that almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had been deposited into the private bank accounts of Najib was an allegation which touched on the dignity of the national leadership.
“As an influential and respected international media institution, WSJ should furnish firm evidence before making a serious accusation in a report.
“WSJ’s action, which preceded the ongoing investigation, is definitely aimed at sensationalising the news,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid was speaking to reporters after handing over contributions to Hilir Perak Police personnel at the Hilir Perak District Police headquarters here on Friday.
The minister said the person responsible for disseminating what he claimed was inaccurate news must assume full responsibility, and legal action should be taken by the authorities.
Banking info confidential
“As we are all aware, the attorney-general and the Public Accounts Committee are investigating the 1MDB issue. As such, all quarters must wait for the outcome of the investigations before making any evaluation.
“We leave it to the prime minister to discuss with his lawyers or the attorney-general, which can be done in his capacity as an individual or as the prime minister,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said his ministry would take action under the law against media which published inaccurate information or information from invalid sources, with the aim of tarnishing the dignity of the government and country.
He added that banking laws are subject to the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia).
“Information regarded as banking official secrets should not be divulged, what more if the news comes from documents which were not validated by the banks. This is outside the purview of journalism ethics,” he said.