PETALING JAYA - Umno leaders have made it known that critics of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak must show proof that money from the 1Malaysia Development Board is missing.
Leading the call is supreme council member Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi, who said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should provide evidence so that the authorities could investigate allegations about the missing money.
Despite the criticism against the Prime Minister and Umno president on the issue, he said Dr Mahathir had not substantiated his claims.
"It is hardly surprising that Dr Mahathir did not accept explanations on this issue despite Najib talking at length on the matter.
"So it is only appropriate that he proves his allegations. I hope he will support his claims with hard evidence and hand it over to the Auditor-General," Dr Puad said when contacted.
Sabah Umno liaison deputy chief Datuk Salleh Said Keruak questioned whether the critics - including those in Umno and Barisan Nasional - had produced any evidence.
"The opposition demands justice and the application of the standard of innocent until proven guilty. But in the case of 1MDB, they practise the reverse and give the excuse that since there is no evidence of innocence, then we must assume there is guilt. We have yet to see 1MDB's balance sheet. If the RM42billion (S$15.5 billion) has disappeared, the balance sheet would certainly reflect it," he said.
Salleh, who called on all parties not to jump the gun, said investigations had yet to be completed and no figures had been revealed so far.
He noted that the 1MDB issue had been put under trial in the court of public opinion.
"It is a classic case of the mob-lynching syndrome," he said.
"Let us see what the figures are before we decide that there was indeed a crime. Is this not the very essence of fairness and justice? Why should Najib be denied this same decency just because he is the Prime Minister?" he asked.
As for Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, he called for an end to the "war of words" between Najib and his predecessor, or there would be no positive outcome to the conflict.
Dr Rais, who served both leaders under different capacities, said both men had contributed to the nation and had different styles of governing the country.
"I think airing dirty laundry at this level will not contribute anything to the country," he said on his Facebook yesterday.
Former Information Minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin wrote in his blog that the situation had worsened when businessman Low Taek Jho accused Umno members of spinning the 1MDB issue.
Low, in an interview with Euromoney had hit out at some Umno leaders, labelling them spin masters.
At the Dewan Negara yesterday, Senator Datuk S. Nallakaruppan said that both leaders should have a face-to-face meeting to trash out their differences.
"If this matter is left unresolved, those who will lose out will be the Malays," said Nallakaruppan, who is Malaysia Indian United Party president.