Support for Datuk Seri Najib Razak should be determined by a national referendum to settle "once and for all" if the public back him as prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
The retired politician said he would stop demanding Najib's resignation if the majority of voters supported the prime minister in the poll.
"What really would convince people would be a national referendum or poll in which every voter in the country can express his support for Najib.
"I give an undertaking that if Najib wins in the national referendum, I will stop asking him to resign. I will not say anything more about 1MDB, the RM2.6 billion and the mansions in UK, US and Hollywood or the 'Wolf of Wall Street' pornographic film.
"Najib can continue to be the Malaysian PM for life," Dr Mahathir wrote in a blog post this evening.
The former prime minister has been criticising Najib and demanding his resignation for more than a year over alleged financial scandals involving state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion donation that went to his personal bank accounts.
Dr Mahathir recently initiated the Citizens' Declaration to call for Najib's removal and institutional reforms, together with some Umno veterans, political foes from DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara, and some civil society leaders.
The declaration's credibility and unlikely alliance has been questioned by some quarters because of Dr Mahathir's involvement, as the prime minister who modernised Malaysia but also eroded the independence of its institutions.
Dr Mahathir today said the question of Najib's popularity, as well as the people's view of his alleged financial scandals, could be settled once and for all with a referendum.
"Just a simple question will suffice: Najib-tick, Mahathir-cross – or the other way depending on who you support. Malaysians are familiar with voting.
"The referendum should be conducted by a reliable foreign public opinion company, overseen by representatives of the two people concerned.
"If I get more votes, it means the rakyat accepts what I have highlighted about Najib’s financial wrongdoings as true, then he should resign," Dr Mahathir said.
Najib, who took over the prime minister's office from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has denied any wrongdoing and maintained that he has the mandate of the people to lead the country.
Putrajaya, in a recent statement announcing the removal of Dr Mahathir as adviser to national oil company Petronas, also said that Najib was "democratically elected" and could only be removed in an election. http://www.themalaysianoutsider.com/malaysia/article/no-way-to-oust-najib-except-through-ballot-box-putrajaya-tells-dr-mahathir
Dr Mahathir said that Najib could only silence him by arresting and detaining, without trial, "this pesky ex-PM" once the National Security Council Act was signed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and enforced.
"I am getting messages that this (arrest) is what awaits me if I don’t cease and desist, I don’t tone down." – March 14, 2016.