Anwar Ibrahim joins Mahathir as bid to oust Najib gathers force

Najib is reeling from allegations that he diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from a state fund to his personal account.

Prominent Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim has offered support to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who quit the ruling party after a long-drawn tussle with Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Anwar put his weight behind the senior leader, who has pledged to remove Najb from power, saying the "the most severe scandal" involving the prime minster has "wreaked havoc" on the country.

"We must together chart a new way forward to save our beloved nation," Anwar said in a statement released from the jail.

Mahathir, 90, ruled the country for 22 years before stepping down in 2003. He quit the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party earlier this week, saying it has become Najib's party.

The widely revered senior leader is stitching together a wide coalition of parties and forces opposing Najib, and Anwar's joining forces is supposed to give critical mass to the bid to remove the prime minister from power.

Mahathir and his son Mukhriz, who was ousted as Kedah province chief minister last month, have been in the frontline of political attack of Najib, whose reign is tainted with allegations of corruption and the poor state of economy.

Najib is 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.

Though 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, the Saudi's clarified last week the amount was not personal donation.

Mahathir demands Najib's resignation to save the party and the country from further damage.

However, the government retaliated last week by placing the country's longest-serving prime minister under investigation for making seditious remarks.

Deemed successor

A coalition between Mahathir and Najib, former adversaries, might be a product of the conditions but it could pile pressure on the prime minister.

Mahathir had a role in the downfall of Anwar, a former deputy prime minister he ousted from the government.

Anwar, once the deemed political successor of Mahathir, is currently serving a fresh 5-year-term awarded to him on sodomy charges. On February 10 last year, the Federal Court upheld a guilty verdict awarded to him under the country's sodomy laws.

The opposition figurehead was arrested in 1998 on corruption and sodomy charges. Human Rights Watch has called upon the government to release him saying the case against him is politically motivated.