First published by Joe Fernandez on 4 March 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Demanding the resignation of elected officials was part and parcel of a healthy democracy and many leaders of other countries have resigned mid-term, noted Institute for Democracy and Economic affairs (IDEAS) Chief Executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan in a statement. “I urge those in authority to respect the democratic rights of Malaysian citizens.”
“We must not turn Malaysia into a dictatorship where dissent was forcefully curbed.”
He was commenting on the declaration by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak step down. “Those in power should seriously consider the demands, and the Prime Minister in particular must not ignore the declaration.”
“I fear the government will quickly respond by saying that this was an attempt to topple a legitimate government using undemocratic means. This would be a wrong assertion.
Wan Saiful recalled that when Mahathir quit Umno on 29 February, he felt that his action would not have any impact on Umno unless he was able to trigger more party leaders to join him. “If he remains a lone protester then there will be no impact on Umno.”
Today, he added, Mahathir has joined forces with some of his fiercest critics in order to push for change. “This development signifies a major shift in Malaysian politics.”

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