Anwar backs arch nemesis Mahathir's plan to oust Najib

Anwar Ibrahim (centre) arriving in court on Oct 28, 2014. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has declared support for efforts by his arch enemy, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak, who he said "has clearly failed to lead this nation".

In a statement yesterday, Anwar said he supported Dr Mahathir, suspended Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin and others "to build up strength and common understanding together".

"This understanding will focus on the demand for Datuk Seri Najib to resign as Prime Minister as he has clearly failed to lead this nation," he said. "He is responsible for continuing to engage in selfish political acts, wreaking havoc upon administrative institutions, and burdening the rakyat (people) with continued economic crisis," added Anwar, who has been serving a five-year jail term since February last year.

Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister by then Prime Minister Mahathir in 1998 and later jailed on corruption and sodomy charges.

In his statement, Anwar also called for reforms of key institutions in Malaysia such as the judiciary and enforcement authorities, which he claimed had been badly damaged under Mr Najib's administration.

Dr Mahathir on Monday mooted the idea of setting up a "core group" of citizens who have a single objective of removing Mr Najib from office. He is due to meet several opposition leaders today, and they are expected to show commitment to their objective by signing a declaration.

Malaysiakini reported that opposition MP Mahfuz Omar confirmed his attendance and his intention to sign the declaration as a concerned Malaysian citizen, even though his party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), has opted out of the "core group".

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said that although the party had received an invite to the event, it would not participate as it had different ideas on changing the country's leadership through democracy and the Constitution.

"PAS demands that Parliament be dissolved to make way for a general election by returning the mandate to the rakyat to replace the federal government that has been implicated in all kinds of scandals," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2016, with the headline Anwar backs arch nemesis Mahathir's plan to oust Najib. Subscribe