Mahathir Mohamad yesterday called Prime Minister Najib Razak deluded in believing he still enjoyed wide support, but flatly rejected overtures from the opposition to work together to oust the Premier, saying the problem is to be resolved within the ruling Umno party.
Meanwhile, a speech by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday at an event he attended with Dr Mahathir is seen as implying he supported the former prime minister's recent attacks on Mr Najib.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an anti-war forum held in Putra World Trade Centre, Dr Mahathir said many people who have recently shown support for Mr Najib in fact privately backed calls for him to step down as prime minister.
Dr Mahathir claimed that Mr Najib was misled into thinking that he still had wide public support by these bogus backers.
"Every day when I meet people, they say, you are not alone," the Malay Mail Online quoted Dr Mahathir, who wants Mr Najib removed from office, as saying.
He claimed that recent surveys and readers' responses to his blogs indicated declining support for Mr Najib.
"Believe me, when I talk to people, almost none of them (have) support for him," Dr Mahathir said.
He also said he will not work with the opposition in his bid to bring down Mr Najib after Lim Kit Siang, adviser to the Democratic Action Party, suggested he work with them towards the same end.
"The problem is within Umno itself," the Star quoted Dr Mahathir as saying.
In a speech given to Malaysian students in Egypt on Saturday, Mr Lim said he was ready to put aside past differences in order to join forces with Dr Mahathir, if that was what it takes to save the country.
Speaking at the Engaging The Young To Criminalise War And Energise Peace forum yesterday, Mr Muhyiddin said Dr Mahathir had always stood up since his youth for what he believed in, even if it meant going against the world's superpowers.
"You are not alone in telling the truth," said Mr Muhyiddin, who was seated beside Dr Mahathir during the event.
Although Mr Muhyiddin was referring to Dr Mahathir's stance on war, his statement appeared to refer to the latter's claim that he was not alone in demanding "truths" from Mr Najib, the news portal Malaysian Insider pointed out.
Dr Mahathir has gone on a tirade against Mr Najib in recent months, urging the Prime Minister to step down over the funding scandal of the country's 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investment arm, for continuing the 1Malaysia People's Aid - which distributes cash to low-income households - and the murder of a Mongolian woman which involved a close aide of his.
Mr Najib gave a special interview on TV3 on April 10 to address the issues raised by Dr Mahathir, but the former premier said there were many questions still left unanswered, including the whereabouts of 1MDB's Cayman Islands funds, which had reportedly been parked in Singapore.