KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s opposition on Saturday submitted a notice for a no-confidence vote against embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak as he faces increasing calls to answer a barrage of corruption allegations.
Critics want Najib to explain massive sums allegedly missing from state-owned development company 1MDB which he launched, as well as the revelation in July that nearly $700 million in mysterious transfers had been made to his personal bank accounts.
“The people of Malaysia can no longer trust the Prime Minister,” read the notice filed by opposition lawmaker Hee Loy Sian.
Parliament sits on Monday but it remains highly unlikely the motion will succeed as the opposition is 25 seats short of a majority.
Despite the slim chances of the motion finding success, the opposition hopes the move will help efforts to eventually oust Najib.
“Yes, the motion is symbolic. We will keep pushing and they will keep ignoring, but there many ways to skin a cat,” prominent opposition figure Chua Tian Chang told AFP.
Both Najib and 1MDB vehemently have denied any wrongdoing.
The premier is also having to deal with simmering tensions within his own party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which has held power since 1957.
On Thursday, a senior high-level UMNO official jumped ship and joined jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party.
A few heavyweights from UMNO earlier this week also joined former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who still casts a long shadow in domestic politics, to demand Najib answer corruption charges.
Last week Malaysia’s nine state sultans, in a rare statement, said failure to investigate the allegations against Najib had created a “crisis of confidence”. They called for a probe to be revived.
Inquiries have stalled after Najib fired his attorney-general in July and after police raided the anti-corruption agency offices in August.
Malaysia’s central bank said it had formally recommended criminal proceedings be launched against 1MDB in August but the recommendation has since been dismissed by a Najib-appointed attorney general.
Najib’s allies say the money deposited into his accounts was “political donations” from Middle Eastern sources, but have refused to provide details.