Malaysia's Mahathir says he will remain leader for 1-2 years

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an election campaign in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an election campaign in Kuala Lumpur

Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was sworn in on Thursday, has vowed to investigate the 1MDB scandal and take action against those who may have abetted or benefited from corruption at the fund.

The net tightened on toppled Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak as the new government on Monday placed on leave a controversial figure seen as his protector in a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal.

In a U-turn past year, Anwar shook hands with Mahathir and agreed to join forces to oust scandal-tainted Najib.

Mahathir also said he may bring a case against former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been accused of corruption.

His daughter, lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar, said the Pardons Board will meet on Wednesday, after which Anwar is expected to be released.

Anwar and his supporters have long denied the sodomy allegations, saying they were concocted to crush him and his political allies.

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A royal pardon would reverse Anwar's conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.

A popular Islamic student leader, Anwar joined the ruling Malay party in 1982, a year after Mahathir became prime minister.

But there have been differences between the two over the cabinet formation, and Mahathir made it clear on Tuesday that he was in charge.

Cracks have already emerged, with officials from Anwar's party alleging that Mahathir bulldozed the announcement of three top Cabinet posts.

Meanwhile, Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail sought to dispel suggestions her husband wanted immediate power in the first place. His wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who heads Anwar's party, is now the new deputy prime minister. Anwar became Mahathir's heir apparent but they fell out during the 1998 Asian financial crisis and Anwar was sacked. Anwar then started a movement known as Reformasi - reform to end the then ruling party's race-and patronage-based governance.

Faced with a leadership challenge, Mahathir used internal security laws to detain more than 100 opposition politicians, academics and social activists.

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Dr Mahathir reiterated there are no charges against Najib, and that the latter can not be detained but that he is "apparently" not allowed to leave the country. He has agreed to hand over power to jailed reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim but has not previously given any timing.

Asked about the possible prosecution of his predecessor, Mahathir said he thought that "in a short while", the government could have a case against Najib.

Mahathir said that whether Najib would serve time in prison would depend on the results of an investigation. "On that basis we gave him a holiday", he said.

Billions of dollars are believed to have been siphoned off from the fund, with most reportedly disappearing overseas, while $681 million also mysteriously appeared in Najib's personal bank accounts in 2013. He declined to say whether any documents had been found and described the operation as "ongoing".According to the police, members of Najib's family had been staying at the apartments, but they declined to name them.

It noted that between 2009 and 2015, several decisions involving high-value investments were made through 1MDB board resolutions without detailed discussion or evaluation. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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