The latest announcement by the United States’ Department of Justice (DoJ) on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was not confined to the subject matter which is about an alleged crime committed on United States of America (US) soil.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said a large part of the DoJ statement on July 20 and last Thursday, talked about what was happening internally in Malaysia, and an even larger part had no relevance to the subject of whether a crime had been committed on US soil as alleged.

“The main issue here is not the US or the DoJ but that they are quoting from the complaint that they received. So the issue here is who are the parties who lodged that complaint with the US DoJ?” questioned Salleh in his blog, today.

He was referring to the DoJ’s latest filing of lawsuits to recover assets allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.

Taking the example of US interference in Malaysia politics during the years of 1998 to 2003, Salleh said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was very angry with the US over what he alleged was that superpower’s interference in Malaysian politics.

Salleh noted that Mahathir was so upset that he called Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim an American agent -- and in 2003 Anwar sued the New Straits Times for reporting that.

“Mahathir grumbled that when Anwar went to the US he received a 21-gun salute even though he was only the Deputy Prime Minister while, as Prime Minister, Mahathir did not receive the same red carpet treatment.

“The US then called Anwar a ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ and this angered Mahathir even more,” he said.

Salleh mentioned that, to Mahathir, Malaysia’s politics is Malaysia’s internal affairs and outsiders should not interfere in Malaysia’s internal affairs.

He stressed in fact, that this had been the international practice for a long time.

“Countries can, of course, comment about the internal affairs of other countries if it involves matters such as human rights, civil liberties, child labour, child sex, genocide, and so on.

“Other than that you respect the sovereignty of another country,” he added.