The government’s investigation into 1MDB must be based on indisputable evidence and not popular sentiment, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
This, he told the South China Morning Post, was why prosecutors were taking “a bit more time than expected” to build a case against the strategic state investment fund and the ex-chairperson of its board - former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“The prosecutors now are gathering that evidence so that when they go to the court of law, the judges don’t base their judgment on sentiment, but… on facts and evidence shown in the court of law.
“So that is why we are taking a little bit more time than we expected,” Mahathir told the Hong Kong daily in an interview.
However, he refused to offer a timeframe for the next stage of the investigation.
Yesterday, sources told Malaysiakini that the investigation had hit a snag as two key witnesses - businessperson Low Taek Jho and former SRC International director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil - have yet to present themselves.
Nik Faisal is believed to be still at large in Indonesia, while Low is believed to be hiding in Macau.
On June 7, the MACC issued arrest warrants against the duo to come forward and assist with investigations.
Najib, meanwhile, is a key suspect in the probe into the misappropriation of funds by 1MDB.
Najib and Rosmah have also been questioned by the MACC.
Reuters previously reported that authorities were considering charging Najib with both money laundering and the misappropriation of property.
The former carries a maximum 15-year jail sentence and a fine of no less than five times the value of the laundered proceeds. The latter carries a maximum five-year jail sentence and a fine.
Attorney-general Tommy Thomas previously confirmed receiving investigation papers from the MACC and has agreed to Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests from foreign jurisdictions that are also probing 1MDB.