Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and civil servants who purported to have conspired with him are traitors if allegations they tampered with the 1MDB audit report are true, said Utusan Malaysia.
"If this really happened, this is an utmost betrayal of the trust given by the people to Najib and other civil servants," Utusan said in a piece under its editorial pen-name Awang Selamat today.
Utusan had cited the revelation by Auditor-General Madinah Mohamad earlier that Najib and others had tampered with the National Audit Department's 1MDB report in 2016.
This was allegedly done in the presence of former auditor-general Ambrin Buang and former chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa, whom Utusan claimed had possibly "supported" the tampering.
Among the claims made by Madinah were that several paragraphs in the report were ordered amended or removed, including one involving the presence of financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, who is currently on the run from authorities over the 1MDB probe.
Utusan said the civil servants involved in the tampering had besmirched the image of the public service.
It added that it was disappointed with Ali and Ambrin for their alleged involvement.
Meanwhile, the Malay paper also said that this incident showed there was merit in Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's push to reform the civil service.
"Previously, Awang did not agree with Mahathir for looking down on the credibility and integrity of civil servants when he took over the government.
"However, with the revelation of the report tampering, this proves that a major restructuring must be done to ensure the civil service can rebuild its credibility," it said.
It then went on to praise Madinah and other officers from the National Audit Department for exposing the 1MDB audit tampering, which it said proved that not all civil servants had an integrity deficit.
Mahathir had yesterday stated that the culture of sabotaging the implementation of government policies still exists among civil servants, albeit with decreased numbers.