Senior government and opposition figures have united behind Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad amid concerns economic problems could undermine public confidence in the leadership. Many had dissociated themselves from his emotional comments attributing the country's stock-market and currency woes to speculators. But now even opposition leaders who had disagreed with Dr Mahathir's remarks have joined in a national chorus of acclaim absolving him of blame. The non-partisan approbation comes from parties of the ruling National Front coalition to the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industries of Malaysia. Kelantan Chief Minister, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, a member of the opposition Parti Islam se-Malaysia, said the Prime Minister was not to blame for the ringgit's depreciation. Dr Mahathir had conceded he had to be careful about what he said because it could provoke an attack on the currency. Politicians and commentators agreed with his declaration last week that the devaluation was not due to his statements. The support was supposedly aimed at rejecting suggestions in Time magazine and Newsweek that he should step aside in favour of Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Dr Mahathir had alleged 'certain Western media and certain fund managers' were trying to get rid of him. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister who ended a decade in opposition by rejoining the United Malays National Organisation, reflected underlying concerns. He said Malaysians had to have confidence in the country's leadership and should not panic. 'Some people accused Dr Mahathir of being the source of the problem, but to me that is baseless,' the politician said. Dr Mahathir went on the attack again yesterday, warning of the emergence of a new era of colonisation by rich nations to suppress former colonies. 'After failing to colonise Malaysia, they try to colonise by using their economic wealth and power to enslave us again,' Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.