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Mahathir tells civil servants not to be blindly loyal to Malaysian government

Mahathir tells civil servants not to be blindly loyal to Malaysian government

Malaysia's Prime Mininster Mahathir Mohamad addresses a press conference at the prime minister's office in Putrajaya on Aug 13, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

PUTRAJAYA: Civil servants, including administrative and diplomatic officers and police and military personnel, who are loyal to the government should not go to the extent of complying with directives contrary to the law, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

If government officers find that the task entrusted to them is clearly wrong or criminal in nature, they should not comply with the instruction, he said.

"You don’t have to follow all orders, just those that come in accordance with government policies,” Mahathir said at a town hall session for about 3,500 administrative and diplomatic officers on Wednesday (Aug 15). 

The session was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, cabinet ministers and the Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa.

“If, as the Prime Minister, I order you to kill someone, would you do it? There’s a difference between an instruction in accordance with certain policies and an order to commit a crime,” Mahathir said.

He added that it is also wrong for a government officer to conceal criminal evidence.

In June, Malaysia reopened investigations into the 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was killed and her body blown up with military-grade explosives.

READ: Altantuya Shaariibuu: A murder that still captivates the world, 12 years later

She was said to be the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda, a political analyst who advised former Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak from 2000 to 2008. 

Two policemen, Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, who were once bodyguards of Najib, were found guilty and sentenced to death in 2015. 

Azilah is currently on death row at Kajang prison while Sirul fled to Australia before the sentencing and is being held in a detention centre. 

Sirul maintains he was ordered by "important people" to murder the model.

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