Malaysia Premier Najib Seeks Party Reconciliation After Tensions

  • Former deputy among those trying to oust him from office
  • Prime minister has removed critics from positions of power

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sought to make amends with his biggest critics in an attempt to ease months of political strains within his ruling party.

For the sake of the United Malays National Organisation, Najib said he is choosing to be "big-hearted" and wants to extend bonds of friendship to those who are against him. After his closing speech at the party’s annual congress on Saturday, he approached former deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin -- who had called on him to step down as prime minister -- on stage and shook hands as thousands of delegates applauded.

Najib has repeatedly called for unity as he fends off pressure from former premier Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin to resign over revelations that 2.6 billion ringgit ($605 million) appeared in his private accounts before the 2013 general election. Muhyiddin, who remains UMNO deputy president after being replaced as deputy prime minister in July, had been prevented from speaking at the congress and is being investigated by the party’s disciplinary committee for his remarks against Najib.

"I would like to state emphatically that if any party still refuses to end the discord and wants conflict," they should think carefully, Najib said. "This is no longer personal between them and me as party president, but it means they are refusing reconciliation that the party and members have asked for."

The premier has said the funds were donations from the Middle East and not public money, and were used for the party and the Malaysian community.

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