First published by The Malaysian Insider on 4 March 2016
Those in power should seriously consider the demand by the new movement driven by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today to remove Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from office and not view it as an attempt to topple the government, says a local think tank. Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan also said that Najib too must not ignore the declaration signed between the former prime minister, opposition and civil society leaders. “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,” he said, adding that demanding for the resignation of elected officials was part and parcel of a healthy democracy and many leaders from other countries have resigned mid-term. “I urge those in authority to respect the democratic rights of the Malaysian citizens. “We must not turn Malaysia into a dictatorship where dissent is forcefully curbed,” he said. Wan Saiful also said the latest development signified a major shift in Malaysian politics. “When Dr Mahathir quit Umno on February 29, I stated that his action would not have any impact on the party unless he is able to trigger more Umno leaders to join him. “…Today we see that Dr Mahathir has joined forces with some of his fiercest critics in order to push for change,” he said. The declaration, titled “The Citizen’s Declaration” and signed by 58 individuals, has several points, including a call to remove Najib and “those in concert with him”. It also touched on some reforms to institutions, such as moves to restore integrity to “undermined institutions” such as the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and the Public Accounts Committee. – March 4, 2016.
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