"The press conference only proves how weak in strength and in ideas the opposition and civil society really are. Unable to settle squabbling among themselves, they have decided to ally with any ex-dictator that made the same call," said its secretary-general A Sivarajan in a statement.
He noted that Harapan leaders' signature on the document was as good as them signing a declaration which indirectly affirmed Umno-BN rule.
"Any short-term plan to remove only the cancerous leader but maintain rule of the same dominant party spells disaster for future Malaysian politics," he said.
He pointed out glaring issues in the declaration, saying Harapan and civil society cannot really believe that Mahathir and the coalition would be allowed to do significant structural changes within the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police and the judiciary while Umno-BN is still in power.
Sivarajan also highlighted the vague wording and structure of the declaration.
Sivarajan said that as long as Umno-BN is in power, the rakyat will continue to suffer.
He also pointed out that Najib’s administration is a continuation of Mahathir’s authoritarian legacy, adding that the alliance to oust Najib only made both Harapan and civil society leaders the targets of public criticism.
Even though the respective leaders were there in their personal capacity, Sivarajan said that it would be difficult to draw the line between personal opinion and the organisation or political party that they represent.
“Did they ever consult their members on their decision? Did they insist that the declaration must be amended with their inputs before they inked it?" he asked.
He said many declarations had been made in the past, but none had made any significant impact, adding that the downfall of tyrants like Ferdinand Marcos and Suharto was not achieved by declarations of the political elites alone.
He said that true change can only happen when a political system is replaced by another alternative system.
Yesterday, Mahathir together with opposition and civil society leaders signed a citizens' declaration calling for Najib to be removed from power by legal means and instituting reforms though it did not dvocate the removal of Umno-BN as the ruling government.
This has struck a discordant cord with some parties, with many noting that the wily Mahathir has sidestepped some very important questions about the direction of the coalition.