by Terence Netto
The Citizens' Declaration, an initiative led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad urging the removal of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, now enjoys a momentum all its own, says DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran.
“The fact that the initiative was bipartisan and readily drew support from civil society groups answered to a need felt widely among the public,” opined the MP for Ipoh Barat.
He said the forces behind the declaration, which was launched on March 4 by Mahathir and backed by opposition parties and civil society groups, has garnered 1.2 million signatures and now has a “momentum all its own.”
“This was caused by the magnitude of the sums involved in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue, the brazenness of it all had struck at deep chords of reaction among the public such that it didn’t matter who led the initiative or that there was consensus on what had brought it about, and what the long-term remedies would be,” explained the federal legislator.
“What mattered more was that something instinctive had to be done, some notice that this could not pass muster had to be served, so that the perpetrators of what I would call the grandest larceny of the half-century would be called to account,” he elaborated.
Kulasegaran said the purported letter written by the jailed Anwar Ibrahim to PKR leaders that is being interpreted as a warning of the likelihood of treachery lurking in the designs of Mahathir and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin should be taken “not as a caveat against the CD but as a caution that the movement can be manipulated to serve ulterior motives over nobler ends”.
“It is advice and should be regarded as such. It should not be taken as a dampener on the campaign to get the PM to quit but as a reminder that the larger goals of institutional reform should not be lost sight of,” he argued.
Kulasegaran said Mahathr would be deluding himself if he thought that “Najib can be removed in one surgical move that would leave Umno intact and unreformed”.
“The removal of Najib on account of the 1MDB issue cannot be effected without acquiescence in the need for reform of the system that had brought about whole sordid affair.
“Whether this acquiescence will be followed up by some resolution about the need for reform is the question that is troubling the federal opposition,” he noted.
Kulasegaran said the opposition existed for precisely the reason to pressure for change and reform when movements to bring these about stall for want of direction or energy or are deviated by reason of treachery.
“Nothing reformatory is going to come nice and easy. All have to be struggled for. Alliances, both expedient and principled, have to be made. The price of reform is eternal vigilance,” he opined.