First published by Malaysiakini on 4 March 2016

Political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan today warned that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak may try to turn around the ‘Save Malaysia’ movement that was launched today and accuse it of wanting to illegally topple the government.

This was after the movement, which saw former government and opposition forces coming together, called for the removal of Najib in a ‘Citizens’ Declaration’ specifically saying that this should be done through legal and democratic means.

“I fear the government will quickly respond by saying that this is an attempt to topple a legitimate government using undemocratic means.

“This would be a wrong assertion. Demanding the resignation of elected officials is part and parcel of a healthy democracy and many leaders of other countries have resigned mid-term,” Wan Saiful said in a statement today.

Wan Saiful, who is Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) executive director, urged the government to respect the democratic rights of Malaysians.

“We must not turn Malaysia into a dictatorship where dissent is forcefully curbed,” he said.

Wan Saiful said the coming together of these unlikely forces under the Save Malaysia movement was a significant development and Najib should take heed of this.

“Today, we see that ex-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has joined forces with some of his fiercest critics in order to push for change.”

“This development signifies a major shift in Malaysian politics. Those in power should seriously consider the demands, and Najib must not ignore the declaration,” he said.

Apart from calling for Najib’s removal, the declaration today also called for the removal of those who acted in concert with Najib.

It also called for the repeal of recent laws that violated citizens’ fundamental rights as well as the restoration of integrity of undermined institutions such as the police, the MACC, Bank Negara and the Public Accounts Committee.

Najib has faced increasing calls to step down over his financial scandals, including the deposit of RM42 million from state-owned SRC International and RM2.6 billion from an offshore accounts into his personal bank accounts.

Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali has cleared Najib of wrongdoing but the MACC is appealing the decision not to prosecute.

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