Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has proposed that those who signed the Citizens' Declaration calling for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's ouster to form a political coalition and challenge the ruling coalition.
This was after the declaration brought together unlikely forces, including former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and his Umno allies together with opposition and civil society leaders.
"Mahathir and his friends are aware that the decision on who will lead the government is not decided at a press conference or through a memorandum signature campaign.
"In a democratic system, the decision can only be made in the elections through the rakyat's mandate.
"If they are unhappy, we propose that they combine into a formal political coalition to face BN in the coming general election," he said in the statement today.
The signatories of the Citizens' Declaration today insisted they were doing so in their personal capacities despite coming from various organisations and backgrounds.
Khairy condemned Mahathir's move to be "in cahoots" with the opposition which had opposed him throughout his political career.
"We will continue to give full support to Umno president Najib Abdul Razak to lead the party and government.
"We are confident that Najib's transformation programme will succeed in maintaining political stability, generating economic growth, and improving the rakyat's well-being," he said.
'Democracy still alive'
Meanwhile, Puteri Umno chief Mas Ermieyati Samsudin ( photo ) also criticised the Citizens' Declaration, calling it a desperate move.
She also dismissed claims by the declaration's signatories that the country was facing democratic erosion.
"Puteri Umno Malaysia is very confident and trusts that the democratic process in the country was never suspended and when the time comes, the mandate will be returned to the rakyat," she said in a statement.
Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein also condemned party leaders who signed the declaration.
"A number of Umno leaders appear to be taking over the opposition's role to topple a legitimate government.
"Their actions clearly go against the values and principles of their struggle which they have held all this while," he said.
Hishammuddin warned Umno members that Mahathir no longer cared about Umno's interest and slammed the former prime minister for not behaving like a statesman.
Umno supreme council member Ismail Sabri also scoffed at the declaration which was launched this afternoon.
"This Citizens' Declaration that supposedly want to 'Save Malaysia' does not reflect the will of the rakyat.
"The genuine Citizens' Declaration is the results of the general election, where the rakyat voice their views through their votes," he said in a statement.
Ismail said the rakyat had, in the general elections, elected BN which subsequently formed the government and chose Najib as its leader.
"The group of some 50 people are clearly not qualified to declare themselves as the people's representatives to sign the Citizens' Declaration," he said.
Another Umno supreme council member Reezal Merican Naina Merican also dismissed the declaration as a "Machiavellian" move.
"I am confident the rakyat will not easily accept these recycled figures," he said in a statement.
Reezal called for a "cleansing" in Umno by removing members who had signed the declaration.
"As a politician trained in Mahathir's era, today is a black mark in the statesman's political legacy," he said.