Malaysia’s Najib-supporting ‘motorbike thugs’ descend on Mahathir’s office

Some 400 “red shirt” Mat Rempit (motor bike thugs), protest against Mahathir’s Save Malaysia movement

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 11:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 11:06pm

Malaysia’s former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a thorn that refuses to be dislodged from the side of premier Najib Razak.

Yesterday, some 400 “red shirt” Najib supporters and biker gang known by the Malay moniker Mat Rempit (motor bike thugs), descended on Mahathir’s office to protest against his Save Malaysia movement which calls for the prime minister to step down over corruption allegations and mismanagement of the country’s economy.

The protest drew a large police presence at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, an anti-war organisation based in Purtrajaya, Malaysia, which serves as Dr Mahathir’s office, according to the MalayMail online newspaper.

The red shirt “invasion” comes a week after Najib sacked Mahathir as an adviser to the state oil and gas giant Petronas.

Najib also said that “since ... Mahathir is no longer supporting the current government, he should no longer hold any position related to the government”.

The red shirts, led by the ruling Umno party division chief Jamal Yunos, accused Mahathir of being a traitor for teaming up with the ethnic Chinese-dominated opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP).

DAP is a signatory to the Save Malaysia movement.

“[Mahathir] betrayed our trust when he announced a cooperation with the DAP, which we know is very racist,” Jamal was quoted by the MalayMail.

“I would like to say that we the Malays will continue to uphold and support the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and we would not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend it,” Jamal added.

Malaysians reacted with their trademark humour.

“So Najib is using red-shirted Mat Rempitsto hand over protest memorandum to Dr Mahathir? Be a man. Go do it yourself,” tweeted VersedAnggerik.

Mahathir was not at his office during the biker protest.

Despite the demonstration and his sacking, the defiant 90-year-old appears to be unfazed and undeterred by the protest.

“It is a public space. Anyone can go there to express themselves, as if Dr Mahathir cares. He would probably have invited them in for a chat,” Kadir Jasin, a close Mahathir associate, told the South China Morning Post.

“Najib has used all that he has to shut Dr Mahathir up but he is not shutting up,” added Kadir.

Mahathir has agreed to deliver the opening speech at a large gathering of opposition politicians and activists on March 27 which will be closely watched by the public and the government.