‘Malaysia spurned our olive branch on 1MDB probe’

‘Malaysia spurned our olive branch on 1MDB probe’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government under the former administration had turned down the assistance offered by the Swiss government into the 1MDB scandal, said the Swiss envoy.

Michael Winzap said his government had asked for Malaysia’s cooperation in its own investigations into the scandal.

But Winzap said the Barisan Nasional government had then claimed that cooperating with Swiss authorities over the 1MDB investigations could have a negative effect on local investigations.

“But it was not our decision, we wanted the cooperation. We were immediately ready after the change of government,” he said on the sidelines of a talk at Universiti Malaya.

Two months after the fall of the BN government last year, Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber visited his Malaysian counterpart Tommy Thomas to discuss investigations into 1MDB.

Lauber told FMT that Swiss authorities were investigating six people for alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal and that two Swiss banks were under suspicion.

On a separate matter, Winzap said his government had opposed a 2009 referendum in his country to prevent the construction of minarets on mosques.

He said despite attempts by the government to stop the referendum, the Swiss people turned out to be supportive of it.

“The government was shocked. It is not what the government wants, but the government cannot stop the referendum,” he said, adding that the ban on minarets could be reversed in a future referendum.

He said the outcome of the referendum forced the Swiss government to summon its envoys in Muslim countries to explain the decision.

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