KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - While the presence of Malaysia's former premier Mahathir Mohamad at the Bersih weekend rallies have created much excitement among its participants, the demonstrations have not gone down well with Umno leaders.
Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein said Dr Mahathir should not have gone against his own principles by joining a street protest.
"Don't burn the entire net just because of one mosquito," the Defence Minister wrote in his Facebook posting.
He said it was unbecoming of a respected statesman to show support for the protest, which posed a threat to national harmony in the run-up to National Day celebrations.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said Umno had long upheld Dr Mahathir's principles of not taking matters to the street.
"During the mass rallies held in 1998 during his era, he clearly stated that taking to the streets was not the right approach to bring down a government," he said.
Bersih, an electoral reform group, organised the weekend rallies to protest against what it said were attempts by Prime Minister Najib Razak to muzzle criticism and to stifle investigations into claims that he had received state funds in his personal accounts.
Tens of thousands of Malaysians clad in the group's yellow shirts turned up for the two days of weekend demonstrations that were largely peaceful.
Dr Mahathir visited the protests on both days. There, he called for a "people's power" movement to oust Datuk Seri Najib over the financial scandal.