Malaysia Najib
Malaysia Najib

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is under increasing pressure because of serious fraud allegations, has fired his deputy and attorney general.

In a televised address Tuesday, Najib announced the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who had been one of his fiercest critics.

"The decision to replace Muhyiddin was a very difficult one, but I had to do it so a strong team can move forward," said Najib. He replaced Muhyiddin with Home Minister Zahid Hamidi.

Earlier, a government statement said Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail was terminated because of "health reasons." Patail had helped lead an investigation into whether the prime minister received over $700 million from the government-owned 1MBD investment fund.

The allegations surfaced earlier this month in The Wall Street Journal, which based its story on leaked documents from a government investigation into the 1MDB fund.

1MDB, which is chaired by Najib, faces accusations of corruption and mismanagement, and is over $11 billion in debt. It is under investigation by several government agencies.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing and has suggested that the corruption allegations are part of a "political sabotage" against Malaysia's longtime ruling coalition.

The investigation has raised the prospect of criminal charges being filed against Najib, something that has never happened to a Malaysian prime minister.