Use proper means to replace Najib, not secret plots: Former minister

Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

PETALING JAYA - Only proper means should be used to remove Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and not secret coups, said former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic).

"I received a call from an Umno source that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was meeting Umno bigwigs including Tun Daim Zainuddin, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed in Italy to discuss handing over the premiership to Muhyiddin.

"I don't know if this meeting will ultimately result in Najib being replaced, but I just don't approve of this kind of surreptitious move to replace elected leaders," said Zaid in a blog post on Sunday.

Zaid, who said he had received the call while in Hokkaido, Japan, added that while he does not know how reliable his source is, he hoped that the alleged plot was not part of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's plan to change the leadership.

"The prime minister should be replaced only by a recognised and legitimate process as is usual in a parliamentary democracy. Either there is a change of party leadership, and hence the premiership, or there is a vote of no confidence in Parliament against the prime minister. There is no other legitimate way," said Zaid.

He added that there must be a debate in Parliament about Najib in his capacity as prime minister

"I believe that there must be a debate in Parliament about the Prime Minister. If there has been any misconduct or misfeasance in his handling of the 1MDB affair, then let the accusers put forward their arguments in the Dewan Rakyat and allow members and, through them, the rakyat to consider the matter before putting it to a vote. A secret meeting in Milan is not the democratic way," said Zaid.

He added that even without the scandals surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the country is in deep trouble due to corruption among its leaders.

"Even without such shenanigans, Malaysia is in deep distress because we have leaders who are corrupt. Corruption is the biggest problem we face, and there seems to be no one out there who is willing to help weed out the problem," said Zaid.

He added that the issues surrounding 1MDB were a case in point.

"The crazy thing is that the Prime Minister's 'boys' are defending allegations against him by saying that during Dr Mahathir's days, things were no different. Please spare us that nonsense. Just because corrupt practices happened before is no excuse for corruption to be accepted now," said Zaid.

He said that the people do not want corrupt leaders and it was time for the rakyat to make their distaste for corrupt leaders known.

"Umno and the Barisan Nasional have failed to tell us what criteria they are looking for in the new leader. As far as we are concerned, it's just a case of musical chairs and the new leader will then have to pay off whatever 'political debts' are owed by stealing an even larger portion of the national pie," said Zaid.

He further pointed out that Najib had not instructed the Auditor-General to perform a forensic audit on 1MDB.

"He should have retained one of the major international auditing firms to perform an independent audit since the 1MDB controversy involves the flow of funds to and amongst many countries. Former prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did the right thing by asking PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) and it was through that investigation that the Government and the rakyat came to know what happened," said Zaid.