TOKYO (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK): Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he will not be cowed by street protests calling for him to step down and only the ballot box can decide his fate.
Referring to the demonstrations being planned by Bersih in Kuala Lumpur this Saturday (Nov 19), Mr Najib said the will of the people will be decided when the general election is called.
Any other attempt to overthrow the government before then would be unconstitutional, he said during a visit to Tokyo.
Mr Najib called for the rule of law to prevail, pointing out that street protests will only lead to chaos in the country.
"We have seen this happening in many countries. Even the so-called Arab Spring was heralded as an era of change, but instead it caused misery to the people in the countries concerned.
"So the best time to decide is when the time comes,'' he told Malaysian journalists covering his visit to Japan.
The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in early 2011.
Mr Najib was asked about his views on the increasing tension back home with the simultaneous street rallies being planned by Bersih and the Red Shirts group.
Concerns are growing that Bersih supporters and the pro-government Red Shirts could clash at the rally, with police warning of stern action against those who disrupt the peace.
On the involvement of the Red Shirts to counter the Bersih group, Mr Najib said: "If one side wants to protest, the side that wants to defend the government feels compelled to come out."
But he said he did not want any physical clash between the groups.
"They have to act according to the law and abide by whatever instructions the police give.
"Obviously, I can't guarantee anything. My decision has always been that one must respect the rule of law and not create trouble and chaos.
"That (street protests) is not going to be good for us, and that is not the accepted culture in our country,'' he added.