KUALA LUMPUR: Former premier, Tun Dr Mahahir Mohamad (pix) today said he suggested to the G25 group of prominent Malays that a council of elders be formed to guide the prime minister in leading the country. He said he made the suggestion as he deemed it necessary considering the Cabinet would probably give the green light to all of Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's decisions. "We need an outside council who will not simply nod their head to everything the prime minister says. Though he may not accept their views, at least he could consider what they say," he told a press conference after the Malaysian War on Corruption Symposium. Dr Mahathir also said that he was prepared to face the consequences of having spoken out against the leadership. "When you stick out your neck, be prepared to have it chopped off," he said, adding that he did not care what others thought of him and that he would continue to speak out if he felt there was something wrong. He said this was a democratic country where freedom of speech was practiced. "I will have my say. The moment I mention the premier should be changed, it is a crime ... under which laws?" he asked. Last Friday, police recorded Dr Mahathir's statement at his office in Kuala Lumpur over his criticism of the prime minister. On another issue, Dr Mahathir said the courts should accept an individual's lavish lifestyle such as owning many luxurious cars as evidence of corruption. "If you want to detect corruption at the highest level, look at the person's lifestyle. The courts here should accept the evidence of lavish lifestyle as enough to reveal that someone was corrupt. This way, there will be less chances of people in high places becoming corrupt," he said. However, he said Malaysians were very tolerant of corrupt people in "high places", and warned that more money will be lost if this was ignored. Asked on the relevance of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Dr Mahathir said people in a democratic country should be allowed to set up or remove any government department or agency as they wished. "If the people want to get rid of Jakim, they can. This is a democratic country, they can even stop supporting the government. That's it," he said. In a recent interview with The Malaysian Insider, Tawfik Ismail (eldest son of former deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman) had said that Jakim should be dissolved as other institutions already existing could carry out its functions. Responding to a statement by social activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan that she was willing to work with him if he agreed to change the country's system of government, he said his priority is to change the Prime Minister and not Umno and the system. "As far as I'm concerned, I think unless the leadership is changed, don't expect any changes. "Umno was set up to struggle for independence and was led by very good people. "The problem is when corrupted people join the party to get something out of Umno," he said. On his preferred candidate, Dr Mahathir said the new prime minister should be an honest person. "Umno should keep an open attitude to accept capable new blood. Umno is not open to new members because the old members do not want to be challenged by capable people," he added.