Malaysian opposition and ruling party dissidents stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak to resign, even as the ruling Umno said it's slated to discuss disciplinary action against prominent party leaders.
Najib's detractors, huddled under the leadership of political patriarch Mahathir Mohamad, have said they plan to submit a petition to the royal figurehead seeking the removal of the tainted prime minister.
"Najib's leadership undermines the very existence of our institutions. We want the rule of law and the actions of Najib has destroyed it. He no longer deserves to be the prime minister," Mahathir said on Sunday.
The move by heavyweights from the ruling party, the opposition and civil society groups to go to the royalty is quite an unusual step, the AFP reported, citing sources.
Mahathir, who filed a lawsuit seeking the removal of Njab last week, urged citizens on Sunday to sign the Citizen's Declaration, which the opposition rolled out earlier in the month, without fear.
He said the government is threatening the people not to sign the declaration. "So people are afraid of this government, it's difficult to get people to sign the declaration," he said, according to Malaysia Chronicle.
He was speaking at the People's Congress the dissidents organised in Shah Alam, where 19 leaders called for the resignation of Najib Razak.
Misuse of power
Mahathir repeated the charge that Najib was miscuing his power. "If we have a new prime minister, I'm quite sure he will be aware of what happens to a prime minister who deviates or misuse their power. They can do what I did, of course. I was a dictator before," he quipped.
Meanwhile, the ruling United Malay National Organisation (Umno) said it will discuss action against dissenters Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir at its next meeting.
"We will discuss in our next and upcoming Supreme Council meeting," deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid told Malay Mail.
Alongside his father, Mukhriz Mahathir was on the frontline of the swelling criticism against Najib.
Mukhriz was eventually forced out of the position of mantri bezar in the northern Malaysian state of Kedah province, dealing a blow to the political patriarch.
Mahathir hit back by launching a citizens' movement demanding the tainted prime minister's resignation. He then quit the Umno party he led for decades, calling it was Najib's party.
Najib retaliated by removing the 90-year-old leader from the position of the advisor to Petronas on March 11, even as the Barisan Nasional leaders defended him.
Dealing another blow to the longest serving prime minister of the country Najib last week appointed Mahathir critic and former prime minister Abdullah Badawi as the advisor at Petronas.
Mahathir has demanded Najib's resignation ever since the corruption allegations against the prime minister came to the fore.
Mahathir cited the corruption scandal plaguing 1 Malaysia Development Berhard and the personal donation Najib received from overseas.
Mahathir says Najib misused his power by trying to smother investigations into the 1 Malaysia Berhad scandal and his allegedly illegal receipt of foreign funds to his personal account.
Najib has been reeling from allegations that he diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from the state-owned company into his personal account in the run up to the 2013 election.
In January, Malaysia's Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi cleared Najib of any wrongdoing, saying the money deposited in the prime minister's bank account was entirely legal "personal donation" from the Saudi royal family and that the prime minister had returned money to the Saudis.