Why Ambiga doesn’t think Dr M will gain support

Ambiga believes the groundswell of popular support from civil societies may elude the 90-year-old so long as he does not open up to wider reforms. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Ambiga believes the groundswell of popular support from civil societies may elude the 90-year-old so long as he does not open up to wider reforms. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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PETALING JAYA, Nov 9 — He has ruled Malaysia for 22 years, but Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is unlikely to gain traction in his campaign against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak because he is not about “changing the system”, prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today.

The decorated human rights activist believes the groundswell of popular support from civil societies may elude the 90-year-old so long as he does not open up to wider reforms.

“If indeed Tun Mahathir is concerned about what has happened over the past 30 years, if indeed there is some recognition that in fact the system is the problem and that he is trying to fix it as opposed to just kicking out one prime minister, then I think anyone who is trying to do that should be open to working with him,”she told reporters here at the launch of the book "Malaysia Post-Mahathir — A Decade of Change".

"But it has to be about a change in the whole system, not just getting rid of Najib and allowing Umno to carry on as it is,” she added.

Ambiga was speaking in response to the group of former high-ranking Malay bureaucrats, G25, who had reportedly turned down an offer to work together with Dr Mahathir in his campaign to remove Najib from office.

The president of the National Human Rights Society of Malaysia added that she was glad that G25 recognised that the issues the country was facing was not just about Najib, but about the whole system.

"I'm glad they are talking about the system. They realise the system is bad, but I don't think [Dr Mahathir] is about changing the system," she said.

The Star Online reported yesterday that Tawfik Ismail, son of Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, as saying that G25 had met Dr Mahathir and former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin separately, where the topic of replacing Najib was allegedly raised.

He reportedly said G25 met Dr Mahathir twice, once earlier this year and the second time on October 12, just after the elder statesman held a conference the same day with Barisan Nasional veterans accusing the Najib administration of using the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 to quell dissent.

Tawfik also reportedly said G25 met with Muhyiddin last month.

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