KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 ― Lim Kit Siang said today that he would have no qualms teaming up with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to restore democracy and implement key reforms as the quest to “Save Malaysia” transcends all racial, religious and political lines.
But standing by Najib must be preceded by the prime minister’s admission to having done wrong by Malaysia and an agreement that the country needs saving, the DAP veteran added.
“I am prepared to work with any Malaysian to Save Malaysia, not only Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin, but even with Najib if the prime minister is prepared to admit that he had led the country on a wrong tangent and that Malaysia must be saved with far-reaching democratic and institutional reforms,” he said in a statement.
Lim was responding to accusations calling opportunistic and unprincipled for joining forces with the likes of long-time Barisan Nasional (BN) loyalists like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the campaign to unseat Najib.
In his defence, Lim said the “Save Malaysia” movement formed after the unveiling of Dr Mahathir’s “Citizens’ Declaration” on March 4 is meant to be the first step in what is expected to be a long and arduous but necessary journey towards fundamental political changes.
He said to achieve this end, national interests must trump racial, religious, political, party and individual interests, and steps can only be taken one at a time.
Lim added the “Save Malaysia” movement and the Citizens’ Declaration cannot be an opportunistic endeavour but one with the blinkered aim of making “Malaysia great again”.
“I believe that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or politics, love this country and can subordinate self-interest to national interests and support a Save Malaysia campaign to stop the country hurtling down the slippery slope towards a failed and a rogue state,” he said.
Dr Mahathir led a delegation of politicians and activists last week to sign a “Citizens’ Declaration” that called for the replacement of Najib as prime minister and a change of his government.
The declaration also expressed concern over the controversies surrounding state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad and the RM2.6 billion deposited in Najib’s personal accounts.
It carried over 40 signatures comprising BN veterans, opposition politicians and civil society leaders.
On Wednesday, backers of the anti-Najib initiative held a meeting where they agreed to name their group the “Save Malaysia” movement. They also decided to start a nationwide signature drive this month in Johor, Kedah, Sabah and Terengganu, states that have seen dissent within Umno against the current administration.
Apart from Dr Mahathir, prominent signatories of the “Citizens’ Declaration” include former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin who comes from Johor and former Kedah mentri besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who comes from Sabah, has also expressed support for the Citizens’ Declaration although he has yet to sign it.