Archive for category Mahathir

‘Save Malaysia’ campaign to oust Najib brings political foes together

By Melissa Goh
Malaysia Bureau Chief
Channel NewsAsia
16 Mar 2016

Political enemies in Malaysia have banded together in a campaign led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, the man who has been leading a year-long campaign to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak, has called for a referendum on Mr Najib’s leadership.

In the campaign, political enemies came together in early March to sign a declaration calling for the removal of Mr Najib, in what they claimed was nothing less than an attempt to save the country from becoming a failed state.

The group included Lim Kit Siang, a former political prisoner from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and civil rights activists who have blamed Dr Mahathir for many of the perceived faults in the nation’s political system. Even Dr Mahathir’s former deputy Anwar Ibrahim, whom he fired and jailed, offered an olive branch from behind bars.

“What Dr Mahathir may be trying to get at in the Citizens’ Declaration and in working with Kit Siang and the DAP and other groups, is to prepare the ground for the next general elections. Mahathir’s support for DAP and the new grouping perhaps could be important in terms of mobilising rural Malay support,” explained Michael Yeoh, executive director of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute. Read the rest of this entry »

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Not business as usual in Malaysia

by Bridget Welsh
New Mandala
17 March 2016

Malaysian politics is entering new and rough terrain, writes Bridget Welsh. And the longer Najib stays in power the worse the country will be.

The formation of an alliance of former foes this month marks a turning point in Malaysia’s contemporary political history.

The Citizen’s Declaration opposing premier Najib Tun Razak through peaceful means and calling for political reform was signed by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and leaders of the 1999 reformasi movement who opposed his leadership, other senior leaders in the dominant party UMNO, civil society activists who mobilised the masses to protest the party’s rule, and long-standing traditional political party antagonists.

To get these men and women to sit down together reflected the depth of concern among prominent Malaysians, who opted to put their country’s future before its political past. At issue was not just the scandals plaguing the country, but its declining economic fortunes, exacerbated by declining revenues from oil and gas and poor governance.

In response, the government has intensified a crackdown on international and Malaysia’s media, strengthened the government’s relationship with conservative elements in the Islamist party PAS, and to portrayed the Declaration as a conspiracy to topple the government — measures that have only deepened the ongoing crisis of confidence with Najib Tun Razak.

In contrast to the cool portrayal of ‘business as usual’, Malaysian politics is entering new and rough terrain. The democratic slide will continue, as Najib fights growing opposition to and disappointment in his leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia turns screw on media as politics realign

Asia regional correspondent
Nikkei Asian Review
March 16, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR — It was a brief, sudden goodbye. With its website blocked by the government since late February, hard-hitting news service The Malaysian Insider announced on March 14 that it would cease to publish on the same day.

“The Edge Media Group has decided to shut down The Malaysian Insider from midnight today, for commercial reasons,” wrote the editor, Jahabar Sadiq, in a notice posted on the publication’s website, which had been blocked because of its reports on corruption allegations against Prime Minister Najib Razak. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said The Malaysian Insider’s reporting broke the law as it amounted to “improper use of network facilities or network service.”

Najib has fended off calls for his resignation over hundreds of millions of dollars credited to his personal bank accounts in 2013, saying the money was donated by the Saudi royal family. He has also brushed off recent allegations that the total sum in his accounts amounted to $1 billion and came from troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, at which Najib is the chair of the advisory board. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mahathir no solution for Malaysia’s mess

— Manjit Bhatia
Malay Mail Online
March 15, 2016

MARCH 15 — In hounding Malaysia’s scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak from office, the autocratic Dr Mahathir, his old foes and others have moulded a union — of sorts. Hailed a “realignment” of Malaysia’s politics, some analysts immediately claimed Najib and his clique can’t ignore its peerless example. But is this unholy alliance all that it’s cracked up to be?

Awfully doubtful. Cracks surfaced even before this “political force” is properly forged. A little over a week later and its legs are buckling already.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat wants Anwar Ibrahim, its jailed founder, symbolic head and one-time Mahathir protégé, unconditionally released from prison, to which Mahathir must agree as part of the overall agenda. And elections reformist group Bersih wants Mahathir to admit and apologise for his past sins.

Mahathir has sneered at these tangents. No doubt the alliance’s champions will paper over the cracks. Time will prove that utility. But time is shorter than 90-year-old Mahathir thinks. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Malaysia’s push to stifle scandal questions backfired as journalists deported

By Philip Sherwell
Asia Editor
16 Mar 2016

Malaysia’s embattled prime minister Najib Razak is cracking down on critics as international probes into funding scandal intensify

The Malaysian administration has waged an increasingly heavy-handed campaign to muzzle dissent and divert attention as a funding scandal and corruption allegations shake his administration.

Earlier this week, Malaysia deported two Australian journalists who attempted to question the embattled prime minister Najib Razak about a $680 million payment into his bank account.

The reporter and cameraman from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation were detained and threatened with charges after they approached the Malaysian leader at a public event to which media were invited.

And Malaysian Insider, an outspoken news website critical of the prime minister, closed this week a few days after the government suspended its operations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib Razak: Malaysian PM has diminishing room to manoeuvre

Greg Lopez
The Interpreter
14 March 2016

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s scandal-linked tenure has continued unabated but now his foes from various sides of the political divide have coalesced to pressure him to resign. This latest unified effort to unseat him could push him over the edge.

International media last year pronounced Najib ‘a dead man walking’ after he admitted to an allegation — of having more than $700 million in his private account — made by the Wall Street Journal. Yet he has remained in power, due largely to the sheer coercive powers and vast resources of the Malaysian institutions that he controls as both prime minister of Malaysia, and president of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).

Najib was never the most popular within the party. He rose to the top of the UMNO over many colleagues by patiently waiting, and betting on the right horses at the right time. He made more than a few enemies along the way. As soon as he was named deputy prime minister in 2004, his opponents sought to bring him down. That he lasted as deputy (2004-2009), and now as prime minister (April 2009 – present), under the most trying circumstances reflects a determination and instinct his rivals did not anticipate. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Mo zhe shi tou gua he” is one approach of the Save Malaysia campaign launched by Citizens’ Declaration of March 4, 2016

Many questions have been asked following the 304 Citizens’ Declaration (March 4) signed and proclaimed by 45 political and civil society leaders, including the country’s longest-serving former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Cabinet Ministers and former UMNO stalwarts crossing the political divide in bringing together DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara leaders in their personal capacities.

Some of these questions include:

• Who will be the Prime Minister after Najib?

• Is Mahathir the puppet of Lim Kit Siang or Lim Kit Siang the puppet of Mahathir?

• Will Mahathir or Kit Siang benefit most from the Citizens’ Declaration?

• Will the Citizens’ Declaration be UMNO’s salvation?

• Is there a guarantee of success in the Citizens’ Declaration and Save Malaysia campaign?

There are no sure and clear answers to the teeming questions thrown up by the unprecedented and historic Citizens’ Declaration, but there are certain facts that should be put straight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Voters in 12 parliamentary constituencies in Kelantan, Kedah and Perlis which I visited after the signing of the “Citizen’s Declaration” of March 4 support Save Malaysia campaign calling for Najib’s removal as well as democratic and institutional reforms

Kuala Perlis is my seventh stop in the visit to four parliamentary constituencies in Kedah and three parliamentary constituencies in Perlis yesterday and today.

Kangar (which includes Kuala Perlis) is the 92nd parliamentary constituency I am visiting since my six-month suspension from Parliament on Oct. 22 for demanding full and satisfactory accounting from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib for his RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.

The seven parliamentary constituencies in Kedah and Perlis I visited in the last two days are: Sungai Patani, Merbau, Kuala Kedah, Alor Setar, Padang Besar, Arau and Kangar.

The purpose on my nation-wide visit of the parliamentary constituencies is to take the pulse of the people on Najib’s twin mega scandals, and there is no doubt that uppermost in everyone’s minds are teeming questions as where the billions in Najib’s personal banking accounts came from, where they have gone to, and whether the RM2.6 billion (mushroomed now to RM4.2 billion) donation scandal is part of the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal.

So many question, and which are increasing by the day, which remain unanswered – sending out the disturbing message not only to Malaysians but to the world that Najib has got many things to hide!

In the whole process for the past year, Malaysia is acquiring the notoriety of being among the most corrupt nations in the world – how sad for patriotic Malaysians!

Since March 4, there is an added issue which I am taking the pulse of the people during my visit to the parliamentary constituencies – the people’s reactions and feedback to the Citizen’s Declaration to Save Malaysia signed by 45 political and civil society leaders, involving former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as well as former Cabinet Ministers, bridging the political divide with signatories from the government coalition and the Opposition, calling for Najib’s removal as well as for democratic and institutional reforms. Read the rest of this entry »

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Selling the Save Malaysia movement to a sceptical Malaysian

Julia Yeow
The Malaysian Insider
13 March 2016

It’s been slightly more than a week since former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced he was championing a “people’s movement” to call for the resignation of his hand-picked successor Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Malaysians have been largely divided as to whether or not they should celebrate a loose coalition that claimed to want to save the country, or if they should run as fast as they could from another marriage of convenience between parties that have too many fundamental differences to be taken seriously as a team.

The largely ambivalent response to Dr Mahathir’s new grouping has led to prominent anti-Najib activist and former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim to make an impassioned plea for Malaysians to put aside their political leanings for this season of time, and come out in full support of this initiative. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dr Mahathir and Ku Li, two peas in a pod?

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
13 March 2016

During the past 10 years I have written a great deal about our national politics and the country’s leadership. In particular I have focused on our prime ministers. What I have written has really been in response to the policies they have initiated and the way they have managed the key issues and challenges of our multi-racial society and developing economy.

Besides writing on the three prime ministers – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Abdullah Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Razak – that we have had during the past 30 years I have also written extensively on two political figures who could have become prime ministers but never quite made it – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Readers will note that my view of Dr Mahathir has not been charitable. In fact, it will be considered unkind. He – and most Malaysians, including a majority of Malays today, will agree with me – is a failed leader who has let down the country badly.

Malaysians of my generation with longer memories than the current generation who know of the stability, harmony and prosperity that we enjoyed as well as experienced the high standards of governance inherited from the British, see the son of Mohamad Iskander Kutty, Dr Mahatir, as the principal cause of our badly dysfunctional economy and society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five things for Najib to do to establish his bona fides in support of democratic and institutional reforms to “Save Malaysia”

I have been asked what I meant when I said in Sungai Patani yesterday that I am prepared to work with any Malaysian to Save Malaysia, not only Tun Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin, but even with Datuk Seri Najib Razak 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.

I said in Sungai Patani that I believe that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, race 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.

I am glad that the people of Sungai Patani, Semiling, Anak Bukit and Alor Star which I visited yesterday had given me full endorsement for taking a strong stand to “Save Malaysia”, even to work with Mahathir and Muhyiddin and all like-minded political and civil society leaders who could agree with the two major thrusts in the Citizen’s Declaration – the removal of Najib as Prime Minister and far-reaching democratic and institutional reforms.

But if Najib is to come board the “Save Malaysia” campaign, there are at least five things he can and should do immediately: Read the rest of this entry »

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Confirmation of Muhyiddin statement that the “Citizen’s Declaration” is Mahathir’s brainchild

I confirm the statement made by former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, that the “Citizen’s Declaration” calling for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s removal as Prime Minister was first formulated by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his comrades.

Muhyiddin made this disclosure in his interview with Sinar Harian, while rebutting vitriolic demonisation campaigns by UMNO leaders and propagandists claiming that the Citizen’s Declaration was an Opposition initiative, and that Mahathir and other UMNO leaders like former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Cabinet Ministers Tan Sri Sanusi Junid and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal were trapped by DAP or by the Opposition.

Muhyiddin also expressed shock and surprise at the selective, mischievous and tendentious reporting of the historic event of the Citizen’s Declaration last Friday on 4th March 2016 and the ensuing events in the past week.

He said the joint declaration was not about personalities like him, Dr Mahathir, former Kedah mentri besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir or Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is now in prison, had also expressed support, commenting: “That is extraordinary, because we know the history between Dr Mahathir and Anwar.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Greatest naivety for anyone to think that there are those among the 45 signatories of the Citizen’s Declaration to Save Malaysia who believed that the day after signing the Declaration, Najib would be removed as Prime Minister

It is the greatest naivety for anyone to think that there are those among the 45 signatories of the Citizen’s Declaration to Save Malaysia who believed that the day after the signing of the 304 Declaration on March 4, 2016 that Datuk Seri Najib Razak would be removed as Prime Minister.

The road to fundamental political changes in Malaysia is a long and arduous one, with the Citizen’s Declaration on March 4 only the first step.

Malaysia is in uncharted political waters and we can only take the political tests and challenges we have assumed with the signing and proclamation of the Citizen’s Declaration on March 4 one step at a time, fully putting national interests above all racial, religious, regional, party and individual interests.

As stated in the Citizen’s Declaration to Save Malaysia, the signatories are fully aware that leadership change must be accompanied by democratic and institutional changes or the country would be back to square one. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Chinese view of the Citizens’ Declaration

Rama Ramanathan
The Malaysian Insider
10 March 2016

Last week 45 prominent persons signed “a Citizens’ Declaration”. They signed in their personal capacity. However, when we see many of them, we immediately recall the organisations or histories they represent.

The organisations include Bersih 2.0, the coalition for free and fair elections which has evolved into a movement to restore parliamentary democracy, and C4 (Centre to Combat Cronyism and Corruption).

The histories include victims of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) to silence those who criticised his reign which was characterised by cronyism, corruption and erosion of public institutions. Even, Lim Kit Siang of DAP and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu (who was formerly of PAS) signed.

They signed the declaration at the invitation of Dr Mahathir. The declaration called for the removal from office of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Some have denounced those who signed. They’ve given many reasons. I’ll list just six: Read the rest of this entry »

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Mahathir And Anwar Vs Najib: How Will It End? – Analysis

By Yang Razali Kassim
MARCH 9, 2016

Malaysia’s rambunctious politics has entered an even more unpredictable phase with political foes Mahathir Mohamad and jailed Anwar Ibrahim joining hands to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak and push for systemic change. Where will all this lead?

The unthinkable is happening in Malaysian politics. It is triggered by the deepest political crisis the country has ever known, at the centre of which is Prime Minister Najib Razak. Forced by a common desire to end the turmoil by unseating Najib, two bitter foes – former premier Mahathir Mohammad and his jailed former deputy Anwar Ibrahim – have joined hands in what has long been thought an impossible alliance.

Aptly described as a sea-change in Malaysian politics, never before have such sworn enemies buried their hatchets for a common cause – and never before had that been a joint cause celebre to sack a sitting prime minister. By launching his rainbow “core group” of concerned citizens of various political stripes and leanings to “Save Malaysia”, Mahathir has once again thrust himself into the eye of the storm to redefine the political landscape. In the same vein, with Anwar in jail, all the disparate forces that have aligned themselves against Najib over the 1MDB investment fund scandal have finally found someone of stature to rally around in a marriage of convenience. It is ironic that the man who crushed the opposition while in power has remade himself in retirement as the de facto leader of what in essence is a citizens’ revolt. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ban on Asia’s best debater Syed Saddiq from speaking at universities another sign of panic in the Putrajaya corridors of power over the 304 Citizens’ Declaration for Najib’s removal as PM and democratic and institutional reform

On Sunday, I said that there is an air of panic in Putrajaya as a result of the historic 304 (March 4) Citizens’ Declaration for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s removal as Prime Minister and call for democratic and institutional reforms to Save Malaysia.

As an example, I cited Najib’s emergency summoning of UMNO/BN Members of Parliament to his official residence 24 hours after the Citizens’ Declaration on Saturday.

While UMNO/BN leaders put up a stoic front, denying that they were in any way bothered by the Citizens’ Declaration, the ban on Asia’s best debater, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, 23, from speaking at the local universities provides another sign of the panic in the Putrajaya corridors of power over the Citizens’ Declaration, signed not only by the longest-serving former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Ministers as well as by political and civil society leaders totaling 45 personalities.

Even more important, the Citizens’ Declaration has the effect like clap of thunder in the political landscape giving renewed hope to many Malaysians about the possibility of political changes in the country, although there are also reservations and doubters.

This is captured by one social media poll by Malaysiakini’s English Facebook and Twitter accounts, recording 76.2 per cent of 5,5852 respondents in favour of the declaration, 11.6 per cent rejection and 8.8 per cent skeptical about the entire issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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United front needed to unseat PM Najib

Tommy Thomas
9th March 2016

COMMENT Any prime minister in the 21st century who admits to receiving US$680 million in his personal bank account will immediately resign or be removed because it so offends public morality and good governance.

When multiple versions are given of the source of monies of that scale and magnitude, the reasons for payment to him and what happened to the money, his credibility is so destroyed that it is impossible for him to continue leading. Yet Najib Abdul Razak remains Malaysia’s prime minister nearly one year after the world discovered the unbelievably healthy state of his bank accounts.

Indeed, Najib’s decision last July to sack the deputy prime minister and attorney-general, and to intimidate hundreds of bureaucrats from discharging their duties in various governmental agencies charged with investigating the 1MDB scandal and the receipt of US$ 680 million, has had the effect of temporarily covering up the crimes committed and silencing Malaysians on pain of detention and prosecution.

A climate of fear has succeeded to a large extent, but the scandal is too deep and too huge to simply vanish as the prime minister desires. Read the rest of this entry »

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Making our voices heard

Dyana Sofya
The Malay Mail Online
Wednesday March 9, 2016

MARCH 9 ― On March 4, 2016 we saw national leaders from both sides of the political divide, civil society and other influential figures sign the Citizens’ Declaration.

Perhaps Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad put it best when he said it was a meeting of “strange bedfellows.” Be that as it may, it was certainly a historic occasion for our country. Never have we witnessed political arch-nemeses, such as those who were present, coming together for a common political cause.

As I watched the events unfold “live” on my laptop screen, I had mixed feelings of amazement, trepidation and excitement. After all, those who had been jailed, exiled and prosecuted were now sitting together with the man who had caused them all the hardship.

But they did, not because they had suddenly forgotten and forgiven the man for his sins, but because they believed in the greater cause of saving Malaysia and her people.

Not everyone reacted the same way, of course. Some of my comrades, colleagues and friends felt betrayed and disappointed. I don’t blame them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Working with Mahathir: The right thing to do?

— Yu Ren Chung
The Malay Mail Online
March 7, 2016

MARCH 7 — Earlier this week, a group of influential Malaysians signed a “Declaration” calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to be removed and for institutional reforms.

This is a major escalation in the effort to remove Najib, and an extraordinary development in Malaysian politics. Najib has faced months of exposés, investigations, and rebukes for corruption relating to the 1MDB scandal.

The signing of the Declaration is the first time that Najib’s critics from opposing sides have explicitly united against him. Opposition leaders and civil society figures on the one hand, and disaffected members (and ex-members) of Najib’s own party on the other hand, have put their differences aside to “save Malaysia”.

Opposition and civil society leaders who signed the declaration are still “coming to terms” with working alongside Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the leading figure of the Declaration effort, who they opposed for decades for his authoritarianism during his Premiership. Many supporters of opposition and civil society leaders have been left questioning this cooperation.

Is working with Mahathir the right thing to do? I believe this question consists of two elements. The first element is strategy, and the second element is morality. I will not present a definitive conclusion for either element, but I hope to highlight what I think are the main arguments for both. Read the rest of this entry »

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A hasty coalition?

Emmanuel Joseph
The Malaysian Insider
8 March 2016

It is often said that in politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies. The Malaysian scenario is no different. Alliances, both long term (as is often the case with Barisan Nasional), and short term (as is often the case with the opposition), would often see friend turn foe turn friend again with each passing election.

But I believe, even as recent as a few days ago, no one would have been able to foresee old arch nemeses sitting and smiling at the same table, reaching an agreement to oust a newer “arch nemesis”.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s former prime minister and long-time Umno president; his long-time Parliament duelling partner Lim Kit Siang; Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, whose party was ironically formed mainly to oust Dr Mahathir; his former rival in Kubang Pasu and current Parti Amanah Negara president, Mohamad Sabu; one of his strongest critics, Hishamuddin Rais; and 53 other leaders from Umno, Pakatan Harapan and various NGOs had signed a declaration seeking to remove the current Prime Minister alongside other demands for reforms. Read the rest of this entry »

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