Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad's role as adviser to Petronas terminated

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad has been removed as advisor to Petronas.
Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad has been removed as advisor to Petronas.PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR - The government has sacked Tun Mahathir Mohamad as adviser to state oil company Petronas, exactly a week after the long-serving former premier brought together a broad alliance dedicated to removing Prime Minister Najib Razak from power.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a brief statement Friday evening (March 11) that the Cabinet discussed the actions of Dr Mahathir, "particularly in launching the so-called 'Citizen’s Declaration' with opposition leaders last week" and decided that since he was "no longer supporting the current Government, he should no longer hold any position related to the Government".

"The declaration aims to topple the democratically-elected Government led by the Prime Minister, and is therefore against the law and the Federal Constitution. Therefore, the Cabinet today agreed unanimously to terminate the appointment of Tun Mahathir as advisor to Petronas," the statement said.

Dr Mahathir's group - now known as the "Save Malaysia" movement - comprises opposition figures and civil society leaders as well as Umno rebels including suspended Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, as well as opposition stalwarts jailed during the former strongman's 22-year rule, such Mr Lim Kit Siang and Mr Mohamed Sabu.

Jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim also expressed support for the alliance despite having been sacked as deputy prime minister by Dr Mahathir in 1998 before he was incarcerated for abuse of power and on a sodomy conviction that was subsequently overturned.

The 45 members inked an agreement last Friday to cooperate in ousting Datuk Seri Najib over allegations of graft involving US$700 million (S$964 million) linked to 1MDB that ended up in his personal accounts.

The PM has denied the claims and removed critics such as Tan Sri Muhyiddin, and Dr Mahathir's son Mukhriz from government positions.