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Malaysian PM reshuffles cabinet amid speculation of snap poll

Najib, 62, who has survived a massive financial scandal linked to state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), said the shake-up would bolster his administration.

“The reshuffle will boost the government’s ability to pursue development programmes as promised,” he said in a statement.

Analysts and politicians said the reshuffle showed Najib could weather the affair -- related to hundreds of millions of dollars of 1MDB money which went missing in complex overseas transactions that have never been fully explained.

Swiss authorities say more than USD 4 billion may have been stolen. Both 1MDB and Najib, who founded the fund, vehemently deny wrongdoing.

Najib was personally plunged into the crisis last year when it was revealed that USD 681 million in transfers were made to his personal bank accounts in 2013. He says the “personal donations” from the Saudi royal family were mostly returned.

The reshuffle saw influential lawmaker Abdul Rahman Dahlan, 50, appointed minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit.

The economy expanded in the first quarter at its slowest rate since the global financial crisis, as the energy-exporting country grapples with falling oil prices and weak overseas demand.

In total Najib made four new ministerial appointments and picked six deputy ministers. 
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