"This realisation, that we have to work together, as a force (opposition) if we want to save the country, if you want to change the government, and that specific event, was the discovery that indeed, the prime minister had 2.6 billion ringgit in his personal bank account. Now when this was first revealed to me, I didn't believe it, I said no one was so stupid to put money into his own personal bank account, even, especially when you're dealing with a prime minister. Who is so stupid to do that, I don't believe it, even though he's my political opponent, he cannot be so stupid to do that but when we discovered that it was indeed the truth we were shocked beyond belief."
"Even if that amount (former leader Najib Razak' s money) was discovered or revealed in the United States, it would be mind boggling, even for a country as wealthy, as rich, as the United States, but when it happens in Malaysia, a small country like Malaysia, its completely out of this world."
"Try to look at the glass half full, not half empty. Imagine if, they had won another term, the glass would be empty, at least it is now half full. We can still do something about it, but if we wait for another term, nothing we do would help, so the glass half full, will allow us as I said to rehabilitate our finances, to recuperate so that we can be reintegrated, to be a dynamic economy that Malaysia deserve to be."
Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng spoke to The Associated Press on Friday about the investigations into the 1MDB fund that have been reopened by new new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Najib set up the 1MDB fund when he took power in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts.
US investigators say Najib's associates stole and laundered 4.5 billion US dollars from the fund from 2009 to 2014, some of which landed in Najib's bank account.
Mahathir, previously prime minister for 22 years until 2003, was spurred out of retirement by the 1MDB scandal.
Lim said allegations that surfaced in 2015 that some 700 million US dollars from 1MDB was channeled into Najib's bank accounts were the "game changer" that prompted Mahathir, 92, to work with former foes including himself and others who were jailed during Mahathir's first stint as leader.
"I said no one is so stupid to put money into his own personal bank account especially if you are dealing with the prime minister. Who is stupid to do that," he said.
"But when we discover that that is indeed the truth, we were shocked beyond belief."
If Najib had won another term, Lim said Malaysia would've plunged into a "deeper black hole."
"Imagine if they had won another term, the glass would be empty," he said. "The glass half full will allow us to rehabilitate our finances, to recuperate so that we can be reinvigorated to be a dynamic economy."
Lim, who recently revealed graft in some projects linked to 1MDB after opening up access to files in the Finance Ministry previously limited only to a top few, said he believed most of the mega scandals have been uncovered.
But he said there are many "mini 1MDB" scandals on a smaller scale that will be revealed over time.