Opposition builds up against Malaysia PM

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Najib Razak troubledLeaders from across Malaysia’s political spectrum on March 4 at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur called for a “national movement” to unseat scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak from office, a move seen as a dramatic escalation of a corruption crisis.

The group, led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who has spearheaded calls to remove Najib over allegations of corruption and misrule, has been joined by Muhyiddin Yassin, Razak’s deputy premier for six years until he was ousted last year after calling for a probe into corruption allegations.

Others in the group are members the ruling party United Malays National Organization, or UMNO, and the opposition, as well as representatives of civil society groups and personalities such as ex-UMNO member and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform, Zaid Ibrahim.

Jailed opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim also issued a statement of support for Mahathir and his campaign.

“We call upon all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion, political situation, creed or parties, young and old, to join us in saving Malaysia from the government headed by Najib Razak,” a joint statement read.

Razak has been under fire for a year over allegations that billions of dollars were stolen from state 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, and his own admitted acceptance of a murky $681 million overseas “donation” which was, according to latest report, probably far more than that.

Razak at first denied receiving any money, but the government now claims it was a “personal donation” from the Saudi royal family, which is ridiculed in Malaysia as an implausible cover story. The Saudis are yet to officially confirm the claim.

The prime minister denied any wrongdoing, saying the allegations against him are “part of a political conspiracy.” He, however, counterattacked his opponents by curbing investigations and removing critics from UMNO, essentially shutting off any internal party challenges. He also last year sacked the attorney general who had been investigating him.

The group said it is planning a gathering of Razak’s opponents on March 27 in order “to chart a strategy to step up pressure” on Razak.

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Leaders from across Malaysia's political spectrum on March 4 at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur called for a "national movement" to unseat scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak from office, a move seen as a dramatic escalation of a corruption crisis. The group, led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who has spearheaded calls to remove Najib over allegations of corruption and misrule, has been joined by Muhyiddin Yassin, Razak's deputy premier for six years until he was ousted last year after calling for a probe into corruption allegations. Others in the group are members the ruling party United Malays National...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Najib Razak troubledLeaders from across Malaysia’s political spectrum on March 4 at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur called for a “national movement” to unseat scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak from office, a move seen as a dramatic escalation of a corruption crisis.

The group, led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who has spearheaded calls to remove Najib over allegations of corruption and misrule, has been joined by Muhyiddin Yassin, Razak’s deputy premier for six years until he was ousted last year after calling for a probe into corruption allegations.

Others in the group are members the ruling party United Malays National Organization, or UMNO, and the opposition, as well as representatives of civil society groups and personalities such as ex-UMNO member and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform, Zaid Ibrahim.

Jailed opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim also issued a statement of support for Mahathir and his campaign.

“We call upon all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion, political situation, creed or parties, young and old, to join us in saving Malaysia from the government headed by Najib Razak,” a joint statement read.

Razak has been under fire for a year over allegations that billions of dollars were stolen from state 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, and his own admitted acceptance of a murky $681 million overseas “donation” which was, according to latest report, probably far more than that.

Razak at first denied receiving any money, but the government now claims it was a “personal donation” from the Saudi royal family, which is ridiculed in Malaysia as an implausible cover story. The Saudis are yet to officially confirm the claim.

The prime minister denied any wrongdoing, saying the allegations against him are “part of a political conspiracy.” He, however, counterattacked his opponents by curbing investigations and removing critics from UMNO, essentially shutting off any internal party challenges. He also last year sacked the attorney general who had been investigating him.

The group said it is planning a gathering of Razak’s opponents on March 27 in order “to chart a strategy to step up pressure” on Razak.

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