World Bulletin / News Desk
High-profile Malaysian politicians from both government and opposition joined forces Friday to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, claiming he is causing tremendous damage to the country.
Led by former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the group claims it represents the voice of all Malaysians and the resignation of Razak will be the only way to recover stability in the country.
Mohamad resigned from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) last week to protest Razak.
The longest serving premier of the country and UMNO chief had been demanding the premier's resignation in relation to a political scandal surrounding a $681 million political donation and debt-ridden state wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
"Only if Najib resigns and after all those supporting him are cleared out of the system, we can enjoy economic and political stability," Mohamad told a packed press conference Friday.
Also present was Razak's former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, opposition leaders Lim Kit Siang and Azmin Ali, and many social activists.
Yassin, who was fired after he raised doubts about the investigation linked to Razak, has said he will stay in the ruling party but fight his suspension as UMNO deputy president.
"I'll stay on to fight the party's evil from within," the Straits Times quoted Muhyiddin as saying Thursday. "Just because I plan to stay on in UMNO doesn't mean I won't do anything. Our fight is not over."
On Friday, the 90-year-old Mohamad said that the group agreed with the "concerns of the people that the country is led by someone who’s doing a lot of damage to our country."
"If he’s allowed to go on, the damage will be worse and worse,” he added.
The group is planning to table a vote of no-confidence in Parliament to oust Razak, however Mohamad says it needs the support of a majority, to go through.
"We might have to do some briefing and explain the real situation about Razak and the current government to the parliamentarians," he said
During the press meet, Mohamad read a "citizens’ declaration" inked by 58 signatories comprising of government veterans, opposition leaders and civil society activists.
“We, the undersigned citizens of Malaysia agree and support. The removal of Najib Razak as the prime minister of Malaysia through non-violent and legally permissible means, the removal of all those who have acted in concert with him, a repeal of all the recent laws and agreements that violate the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and undermine policy choices," he said.
The group also wants to restore the integrity of the institutions that have been undermined thus far by Razak, such as the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Central Bank and the parliament's Public Accounts Committee.
The citizens declaration also expressed concern over the controversies surrounding state wealth fund 1MDB and $700 million reported to be found deposited in Razak's personal bank accounts.