Suspended Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin today acknowledged that the "black episode" of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's financial scandals and his struggle to stay in office have made people more matured, and stressed the need for reforms in the country.
He said the mere rejection of Najib was not enough and changes to the country's laws and political institutions are needed.
"I think the black episode happening in Malaysia is making us more mature.
"If we want to see Malaysia return to a respected country where the rakyat can live a more prosperous life, we need to be prepared to demand for changes.
"It is not just to demand the prime minister step down but to reject a political institution that has failed to fulfil the aspirations of the rakyat.
"Set aside racial, religious and ideological sentiments to get the rakyat's consensus towards forming a government that is just, trustworthy, and with integrity," he said in a statement this morning.
The statement came after the Umno supreme council yesterday suspended Muhyiddin as party deputy president for his criticisms of Najib.
Muhyiddin's acknowledgement of the need for institutional changes is significant as the opposition and civil society have, in the past, refused to aid the dissenting Umno faction for fear it is only interested in removing Najib and retaining the same system.
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli had previously said that the opposition may only consider joining forces if the dissenting Umno faction was interested in genuine institutional changes .
Muhyiddin in his statement said among the reforms needed is to curb the power of the prime minister.
"I will continue to voice out to uphold the truth and demand for holistic institutional reform.
"The prime minister's power to advise the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong in the appointment and sacking of the attorney-general must be curbed.
"Because the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, in executing his powers under the federal constitution, acts under the advice of the prime minister, it means anyone who becomes the prime minister can escape criminal prosecution by advising the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to sack the attorney-general," he said.
Muhyiddin said he is prepared to stand with the rakyat to "save Malaysia".
"The rakyat must rise up to oppose tyranny and wrongdoing. Save Malaysia!
"I am prepared to stand with you in this struggle. Do not fear for the almighty is Allah," he said.