Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has accused Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of being behind street rallies to support his premiership in the face of calls for his resignation.
"Najib has paid people to demonstrate in the streets in support of him. He has, of course, made it illegal for people to demonstrate for his removal," said Mahathir on his blog today.
Although he did not specify, the long-serving PM was likely referring to the red shirt rally on Sept 16 in Kuala Lumpur, held by pro-Najib quarters.
Najib significantly praised the rally for defending the Malays and his government.
Malay NGO coalition chairperson Jamal Md Yunos has refuted allegations which say Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak gave a RM3 million cheque to organise the rally, which in the end was called ‘Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu’.
"I want to deny the statement and this news. I want to stress that Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu has no connection with Najib and has never received any allocation from he himself or the government," he said in a statement on Sept 18.
Umno supreme council member Annuar Musa had admitted protesters were paid to attend the rally.
“I don’t deny they were paid. People in my division were paid. I even paid some of them.
“What is wrong with that? I know Bersih paid their participants too. In fact, they paid a lot more than we did,” he said.
Dubbed the red shirt rally, the gathering on Sept 16 attracted 50,000 protesters - dressed mainly in red T-shirts - flooding downtown Kuala Lumpur and marching towards Padang Merbok.
In the beginning, the rally is said to be a counter-rally to Bersih and about defending the dignity of Malays, but was later pitched as a gathering for those who support the government.
The rally is marred by messages which promote Malay supremacy and anti-Chinese sentiment.