KUALA LUMPUR - Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made his strongest attack yet against Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the 1MDB issue.
Muhyiddin asked the party president and Prime Minister to go on leave until the probe on 1MDB and the RM2.6bil (S$854 million) donation are completed.
"All these allegations and unanswered questions are not good for Umno. I would therefore like to suggest that maybe Najib rests for a while.
"This is so that the investigations are truly seen as transparent and fair and free from interference," he said at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru here.
Flanked on the stage by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Muhyiddin said that an acting prime minister could take charge in the interim period and when the investigation has cleared the Prime Minister, he can resume his duties.
"I have no malice. We have a Government that is transparent and well managed but if some actions are creating many unanswered questions, then the faith of the people in the Government will be eroded," said Muhyiddin.
The audience comprising hundreds of people crammed every inch of the hall. Several hundred more sat under tents placed outside the hall with a large video screen broadcasting his speech.
Muhyiddin said the Government must come clean and take action where necessary without fear or favour.
"Some say I will be sacked from the party if I speak but if you sack me is the problem solved?" he asked.
Speaking for more than an hour in the sweltering heat of the non-airconditioned hall, Muhyiddin said he chose to speak openly so that he could be heard by Umno members, whom he hoped will demand that the party do the right thing.
"We cannot allow Umno to become hated, we are a great party, so we have no choice but to openly discuss and find solutions before it is too late," said Muhyiddin.
Referring to the second most popular subject in the comments on his Facebook page, Muhyiddin said it was calling on Najib to "berundur" (withdraw).
"It's not my right to pressure the Prime Minister to go, but this is the view of some of the rakyat so what I can ask is Sir, ask your moral conscience so that you can go in the right direction for the people and country."
He said Umno must change, become a party that cares for the rakyat, uproot patronage and be seen as a party of the future, not the past.
"If Umno doesn't change the rakyat will change Umno," he said while suggesting that the party constitution be changed to limit the president's term to only two terms.
This he said, was to ensure that leaders would not feel invincible and would be less likely to abuse their positions.
Muhyididn said whoever becomes a cancer to Umno must be removed.
"I may face being sacked from the party even though I feel what I said tonight is because of my love for the party.
"During the assembly I may be an object of ridicule as if I have done a major sin. But I do what I do based on my principle. If I want to be safe I could just be quiet but that would not be fair to the party and country."