KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he is more focused on unseating Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak than changing the system, despite Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s claim this week that he would gain more support if his campaign was to seek wider reforms.
The former prime minister pointed out that should Najib be successfully dethroned, it would then be up to Malaysians to decide how to make changes to the government.
“I’m very concerned about the first change, change in the leadership… but whatever comes after that is up to the leader to decide.
“My first priority is to get Najib to step down — that’s why I join the demonstration,” he said, referring to his appearance during the 34-hour Bersih 4 rally in August.
“As to the others, it is up to the majority to decide,” he told a press conference after the 2nd annual Malaysia’s War on Corruption Symposium today.
He also said that the public could apply pressure on Putrajaya should they be dissatisfied with “people who fiddle around with elections” by removing a certain individual from the government.
However, when asked if he saw anyone in the Cabinet capable enough to replace Najib, Dr Mahathir dodged the question by simply saying that Malaysia needed “a very honest” leader.
When pressed for details, he added that while there are a “few” who may be capable enough to be the next prime minister, it is crucial for Umno to open its doors to new members.
“Currently, Umno is not open to new members because old members don’t want to be challenged by more capable people, so they close their doors to new people.
“As a result within Umno itself, there are very few capable leaders. So what needs to be done is for Umno to open its doors to all the people who wish to join Umno and supports the Umno struggle and they should provide some new blood,” he responded.
Dr Mahathir is among the most vocal Barisan Nasional (BN) critics of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and has demanded that Najib take responsibility for his brainchild, which is under investigation in the US, UK, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore.
The 90-year-old retired prime minister had also joined in the two-day Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur, and urged Malaysians to use their “people power” to push for Najib’s removal through a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
He recently criticised Putrajaya for its use of an anti-terrorism law to detain two critics of 1MDB and accused the government of abusing the law to silence dissenters.