SINGAPORE: Two sons of Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad have been given more time to declare their assets to the country’s anti-graft agency, even as their father recovers from an infection at a Kuala Lumpur hospital.

Mr Mokhzani Mahathir was granted a 30-day extension to declare his assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Tuesday (Feb 20), Malaysian online news portal Scoop reported. Mr Mokhzani’s older brother, Mr Mirzan Mahathir, was granted the same extension on Feb 16.

News of the extensions follow Dr Mahathir’s admission to Malaysia’s National Heart Institute (IJN) on Jan 26 and ensuing rumours that the 98-year-old was in critical condition.

Providing an update to the media on Tuesday, an aide of Dr Mahathir’s said in a WhatsApp group: “Dr M is currently still being treated and is in the process of recovering from (an) infection.”

“I can’t say when he will be discharged, until and unless the IJN is satisfied with his level of recovery,” added the aide.

The aide also shared pictures of Dr Mahathir reading newspapers and writing on a piece of paper in his hospital room. The photos have also been posted on his Facebook and TikTok accounts.

Dr Mahathir’s hospital admission came to light on Feb 13 at a hearing for his defamation suit against Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

According to a report by Bernama, Judicial Commissioner Gan Techiong granted the postponement after an application by Dr Mahathir’s lawyer, Mior Nor Haidir Suhaimi, cited that his client had been admitted to IJN. The hearing was adjourned to Jul 19.

The defamation suit was filed in July 2022, with Dr Mahathir accusing Mr Ahmad Zahid of slandering him during a United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) divisional meeting.

In his statement of claim, Dr Mahathir alleged that Mr Ahmad Zahid’s comments were meant to imply that he was not born a Malay or a Muslim and that his original name was Mahathir son of Iskandar Kutty.

The nonagenarian has been in and out of hospital in recent years. He has a history of heart problems and has undergone bypass surgeries.

His sons Mr Mirzan and Mr Mokhzani were in January given 30 days by the MACC to declare their assets from 1981 – the year Dr Mahathir became prime minister for the first time under the Barisan Nasional coalition. Dr Mahathir stepped down in 2003 but returned as premier in 2018 under the Pakatan Harapan coalition, though his government collapsed in less than two years due to infighting.

Businessman Mr Mirzan received the notice to declare his assets on Jan 18 amid an MACC investigation into entities linked to the Pandora Papers and Panama Papers. The two are leaked documents that reveal the hidden wealth of the rich and powerful around the world.

Mr Mokhzani is reportedly being investigated under the MACC Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

The investigation into Mr Mirzan is reportedly regarding business activities related to sales and purchases of government-linked companies (GLC). The investigation into Mr Mokhzani also involves a GLC. 

Additional reporting by Rashvinjeet S Bedi

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