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Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks at the 48th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 4, 2015. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File Photo

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The leader of a Malaysian opposition party called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down on Thursday after U.S. prosecutors filed lawsuits linked to scandal-plagued state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the president of the People's Justice Party (PKR), said the government should also push for an independent commission to investigate graft claims outlined by the civil suits filed in California on Wednesday.

"I believe the Malaysian people want Dato' Sri Najib to go on leave as prime minister so as not to create the perception of abuse of power or process to halt or hinder a full and transparent investigation on this very serious issue," Wan Azizah said in a statement.

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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