G25: We met Dr M, Muhyiddin, but we’re neutral

(Updated )

The group of eminent Malaysians (G25) has distanced itself from a member’s claim that it backs Najib Abdul Razak to remain as prime minister, stressing it remains neutral and non-partisan.

G25 in a statement last night responded to Tawfik Ismail’s revelation to The Star that Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin met the group in October over an alleged move to oust Najib but the group had purportedly favoured Najib.

Tawfik also told the English daily former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had on a separate occasion also sought the group on the same matter.

“It is our belief that while political power may change from time to time, the judiciary, the law enforcement and regulatory agencies and the civil service must remain independent to create confidence in the professionalism and continuity of the administrative system.

“We have made this point very clearly to the influential leaders that we met, including the rulers, Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin,” G25 said in a statement.

“We therefore wish to reiterate that we wish to remain above the political divide so that we can offer constructive advice on the reforms needed to make Malaysia better respected at home and internationally for its good governance and style of decision-making.”

After real change

G25 said its goal remains the same - seeing a pluralistic Malaysia - and that it has met stakeholders on both sides of the political divide towards this aim.

The objective can be reached through wide-ranging reforms in religious administration and overall governance, it said.

“We therefore advocate for change and reforms that will strengthen the institutions of law and order and standards of governance that uphold the basic principles of integrity, transparency and accountability,” it said.

It added that Tawfik’s views expressed in the interview are his own.

Tawfik in the interview said the G25 believes that Najib is still the best person to lead the country because the ‘western educated’ son of the second prime minister is a moderate by nature.

However, Najib is being stifled by the right-wing elements of Umno, Tawfik reportedly said.

He said the group told Muhyiddin that it did not think the former DPM and Mahathir were the right people to fight Najib as they carried ‘baggage’ and had credibility issues.

Tawfik said Mahathir in a separate meeting with G25 asked if the group was willing to issue a joint statement with a Chinese group on “business confidence” and “economic uncertainty”.

“We said we didn’t want to make it a race thing - where a Malay and Chinese group get together. What about other racial groups?” he asked.

“We didn’t give him (Mahathir) what he wanted because we wanted to play the national card,” he was reported saying.

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