KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has appealed for the people to pressure their MPs to remove prime minister Najib Razak from office through a confidence vote in Parliament.
“Tell them if you don’t support the no-confidence motion, we will not elect you as our MP,” Dr Mahathir said while on a brief visit to show support for the Bersih protesters occupying the streets of central Kuala Lumpur to demand Najib’s resignation.
“It is now the people’s duty to ensure that this country is governed without corruption,” he said. “A leader who says cash is king, is a corrupt leader, you shouldn’t support him”, he said in a reference to a remark that Najib was purported to have made about obtaining political support.
Dr Mahathir acknowledged that he had been involved in behind-the-scenes moves to obtain a majority for a confidence motion against the prime minister. “Yes I’m asking them already,” he said.
“I told them not to be influenced by money and Najib.”
Dr Mahathir, who said he came to show support to the people at the Bersih rally, urged them to put pressure on their MPs. He said that Najib was not likely to meet the protesters’ demand that he resign, and urged the protesters to persist.
“You cannot win a war with a single battle,” he said in reference to the street protests. “You have to persist and tell all your MPs please don’t support Najib, please support the no-confidence motion. We
want a big majority. That is what everyone should do.”
By parliamentary conventions, a government would fall once it no longer enjoyed the confidence of a majority of the Dewan Rakyat. Dr Mahathir said once the Najib government fell, the Barisan Nasional would continue to be in power because the party still had a parliamentary majority.
Asked if the people would need to wait until the next general election to change the government, Dr
Mahathir said he hoped not.
“It depends on the people,” he said. “People are suffering now, cost of living has gone up … everyone is in a bad shape.”