400 protest against bid by Mahathir to oust Najib

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks at a press conference on March 4, 2016. Leaders from across Malaysia's political spectrum joined on March 4 to call for a national movement to remove prime minister Najib Razak
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks at a press conference on March 4, 2016. Leaders from across Malaysia's political spectrum joined on March 4 to call for a national movement to remove prime minister Najib RazakPHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad at his office in Kuala Lumpur in 2013.
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad at his office in Kuala Lumpur in 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA • Some 400 people led by an Umno division chief yesterday gathered outside the office of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to protest against his decision to work with leaders of the opposition Democratic Action Front (DAP) in a bid to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The crowd of several hundred people included young people on motorcycles and elderly men who came in buses, carried placards and shouted slogans at the Perdana Leadership Foundation building.

They submitted a memorandum to protest against the so-called "Citizens' Declaration" - initiated by Tun Dr Mahathir two weeks ago - that saw the coming together of sidelined Umno leaders, opposition MPs including DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and non-governmental organisations that oppose the government.

Datuk Jamal Md Yunos, chief of an Umno Selangor division who led the protest, said the group was disappointed that the former prime minister was now working with his "enemies".

"We are extremely upset with Tun Dr Mahathir's actions, and we were his loyalists and supporters. But what he is doing is unacceptable. Not only is he working with the opposition, he is doing it to topple Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the leader of a government that is democratically elected," Mr Jamal said.

The Mahathir-led loose alliance now calls itself the Save Malaysia campaign. It plans to soon tour the country to collect signatures to pressure Mr Najib to resign over financial scandals linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd and some US$700 million (S$951 million) in "donations".

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2016, with the headline '400 protest against bid by Mahathir to oust Najib'. Print Edition | Subscribe