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(File pix, from left) Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anina Saadudin are suing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over alleged abuse of power to obstruct investigation into the 1Malaysia Development

KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak today labeled the legal action by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as an exercise in desperation.

In a statement today, Salleh said the former prime minister’s action demonstrated just how desperate he was, and that he was clutching at straws.

‎"Tun Mahathir tried to topple the Prime Minister through Umno. He failed. Tun Mahathir tried a parliamentary vote of no confidence. He failed. ‎Now Tun Mahathir is trying to sue. His accusations are false, so he will fail yet again," he said.

‎He said Tun Mahathir has run out of options, and the latest act showed that the latter has no political channels left. ‎

Earlier today, Dr Mahathir and two others sued Najib over alleged abuse of power to obstruct investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

The suit - which alongside Dr Mahathir also has former Umno leader Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and former Langkawi Wanita Umno member Anina Saadudin as plaintiffs - was filed by law firm Messrs Haniff Khatri at the High Court Registry here this morning.

The three plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that Najib used his position as prime minister, Barisan Nasional Chairman and Umno president to interfere official inquiries into 1MDB financial impropriety allegations.

The 1MDB allegations touched on the remittance of RM2.6 billion and RM42 million into Najib's bank accounts, among others.

Dr Mahathir, Khairuddin and Anina are also seeking another declaration that Najib had misused his various official positions to unjustly punish the three plaintiffs for demanding answers to the various allegations.

The plaintiffs seek exemplary and aggravated damages of RM2.6 billion and RM42 million respectively, among other reliefs sought.

Meanwhile, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said Dr Mahathir has no locus standi to sue Najib.

When met at the parliament lobby, Nur Jazlan said Dr Mahathir did not have any legal standing as he was neither the party directly suffering from, or involved in the cases which Najib was linked to.

Asked on how amount of damages that the trio were seeking were apparently similar to the two cases linked to Najib, Jazlan said it was merely a "publicity stunt."

"It was a publicity stunt to invoke anger (among the people)," he told reporters.