KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The move by several former Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders to conspire with the opposition is being rejected by the people who want to see the principles of democracy being upheld, said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"The people's choice is paramount over some former disgruntled leaders who are bent on trying to undermine the country's leadership," he said after a one-hour meeting with Sabah Umno leaders and members here.
Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, who is also Sabah's Umno chief, as well as Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein, Umno Wanita chief Sharizat Abdul Jalil and party secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
He said the actions of some former leaders, including statesmen, in trying to force a change in the leadership was unconstitutional.
"These actions do not make any sense and are not based on the truth," Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid added.
He said it was also obvious to Malaysians that the actions by some former leaders to try and topple the nation's current leaders were due to personal agendas.
On Friday, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad teamed up with key political figures and civil society leaders to initiate a citizens' declaration to demand the removal of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The group of more than 50 included suspended Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, opposition stalwart Lim Kit Siang, Selangor Chief Minister Azmin Ali, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and former Malaysian Chinese Association president Ling Liong Sik.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) component party members have rejected the actions of these former leaders.
"The unity among our members remains strong despite efforts to undermine the leaders," he added.
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Musa said Sabah Umno fully supported Datuk Seri Najib's leadership as the party president and prime minister.
"We will stand by him in facing any challenges," he said, adding it was unacceptable for former Umno and BN leaders to be collaborating with the opposition.