KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he is making an appearance at the Bersih 4 rally for one thing only, and that is to join Malaysians in pressuring Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s resignation from office.
The retired prime minister said he did not care about the other demands by the rally organiser, electoral reform group Bersih 2.0.
“I just want Najib to step down,” he told reporters when approached while he was making his way around Central Market downtown.
The 90-year-old has been a vocal critic of the man whom he was seen to have once personally groomed for leadership, following the Najib administration’s handling of the debt-riddled state investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Dr Mahathir like many other Malaysians at the Bersih 4 rally, blame Najib and his Cabinet for the present economic and political problems besetting the country.
“The only way to return rule of law is to remove this prime minister, and to remove him the people must show people’s power,” he said today, reiterating what he had told a public talk in Pasir Gudang, Johor yesterday to redress the power imbalance.
“We should move a motion of no confidence in Parliament,” he added.
Dr Mahathir is known to have strongly opposed public shows of dissent during his time in office from 1981 to 2003, raising many eyebrows with his latest appearance at the Bersih 4 rally for the second day in a row.
He had dropped in at Dataran Merdeka last night in a lightning visit, fresh from Johor.
“Many people ask me whether I am supporting Bersih, whether I have become a supporter of the Chinese. It’s nothing of that sort, we are here because all of us, whether Malay, Chinese or Indian or Iban or Kadazan, we cannot accept the leadership, the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib.
“Why is that so? It is because he has undermined the legal system of this country. He has dismantled the institutions of government which have been entrusted to investigate all crimes,” Dr Mahathir said.
He referred to the special four-agency government task force that was set up to investigate 1MDB, but was disbanded just days after the abrupt removal of Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as the Attorney-General last month.
Dr Mahathir also linked a flurry of transfers and promotions of senior civil servants from various government agencies, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and elevating members of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to an agenda on 1MDB.
“So we want to ask, why did you stop the investigation on your RM2.6 billion?” Dr Mahathir posed.
The RM2.6 billion question concerns cash deposits made into Najib’s personal bank accounts in the run-up to Election 2013, which the BN finally won albeit with a much reduced vote.
The MACC has since said the money was a donation from the Middle East, without disclosing the identity or the source.
Some Umno leaders have claimed the donation was to help Umno fight, variously the Islamic State terror group and the DAP opposition party backed by Jews, among others.