Archive for category Bersih

Will IGP Khalid say that he does not rule out arrest of Najib for receiving foreign funding, like Maria Chin?

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has said that he has not ruled out the possibility of Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah being re-arrested.

The thought that immediately struck me was whether Khalid would ever say that he does not rule out the possibility of arresting Datuk Seri Najib Razak for receiving foreign funding, as being alleged against Maria Chin.

The answer is of course a clear-cut and categorical “No”

Can Khalid answer why he would never make such a statement about Najib when he had no problem making it against Maria Chin?

Especially when Najib had himself claimed that the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal banking accounts were from foreign sources?
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Will Maria Chin be re-arrested after her habeas corpus case had been officially disposed off?

I told Bersih Chairperson Maria Chin after the moving “singing in the rain” at the corner of Jalan Raja, nearby Dataran Merdeka, last night by Bersih supporters that she had to thank the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak for making her an “instant heroine”.

Maria Chin expects to be arrested again by the authorities but she had pledged that this will not shake her spirits and her commitment to fight for fair elections and democracy in Malaysia, as well as the abolition of Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

Will Maria Chin be re-arrested after her habeas corpus case had been officially disposed off this afternoon? Read the rest of this entry »

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If Maria Chin is to be held under Sosma for 28 days because of a puny grant from OSF before 2011, then Najib should be detained for life for receiving RM4.2 billion from foreign sources

Gerakan President Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong’s had been Minister for nearly two-and-a-half years after he defeated DAP candidate Dyana Sofya in the Teluk Intan by-election on May 31, 2016 with a wafer-thin majority of 238 votes.

Mah’s 30 months in Parliament and Cabinet are marked by three political and economic disasters: firstly, the government’s increasingly repressive measures highlighted by the undemocratic detention of Bersih chairperson, Maria Chin; secondly, Malaysia’s ignominy and infamy for being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”; and thirdly, the unchecked decline in the value of the Malaysian ringgit, reflecting widespread loss of investor confidence in the Malaysian economy and the country’s political leadership.

Gerakan claims to be the “conscience of BN government” but if Gerakan is able to play this role, these three national blackmarks would not have taken place.

The Gerakan is not the “conscience” of the BN government, for Mah’s 30 months as a Cabinet Minister is distinguished by Gerakan subservice to and compliance with UMNO’s repressive and kleptocratic policies, as Mah had not dared to say a single word whether about Maria Chin’s detention or the multi-billion dollar 1MDB global kleptocratic money-laundering scandal, which catapulted Malaysia into the stratosphere of a “global kleptocracy”.

When will Mah and Gerakan speak up to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Maria Chin, and to condemn her detention under Sosma, which is a clear-cut violation of parliamentary undertaking by the UMNO/BN government that the Sosma legislation would only be used against terrorists and not peaceful NGO activists and political opponents? Read the rest of this entry »

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US ‘troubled’ over Malaysia’s detention of activist and Najib critic

Guardian
24th November 2016

Maria Chin Abdullah, who has called for resignation of prime minister Najib Razak, in solitary confinement under law intended to curb extremism

The United States has said it was troubled by the arrest of a Malaysian activist and critic of prime minister Najib Razak.

Maria Chin Abdullah, the chair of pro-democracy group Bersih, was detained on Friday under Malaysia’s Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, a law that was introduced in 2012 to fight security and extremist threats.

She was arrested a day before a demonstration that Bersih had organised for Saturday, when tens of thousands of Malaysians marched in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, demanding that Najib step down over his alleged involvement in a financial scandal.

“We are troubled by the ongoing detention and solitary confinement of Maria Chin Abdullah under national security laws,” Alicia Edwards, a spokeswoman for the US state department, told Reuters in an emailed statement. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian ringgit divides experts, with some seeing Trump, 1MDB risks

Leslie Shaffer
CNBC
24 Nov 2016

Malaysia’s currency has tumbled in the wake of the market’s “Trump tantrum,” and analysts disagree on whether that’s just the beginning or near the end.

The ringgit has taken it on the chin since Donald Trump’s surprise win in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.

By Thursday, dollar had climbed as much as 6.5 percent against the Malaysian currency for the month so far, with the greenback fetching as much as 4.4630 ringgit, its highest since September 2015, and is flirting with levels last seen during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. On Friday, the dollar was fetching 4.460 ringgit at 10:06 a.m. HK/SIN. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is Maria Chin held under Sosma for Bersih receiving puny funds from OSF while Najib goes scot-free for receiving astronomical RM4.2 billion from foreigners?

The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar made a splash of a news earlier this evening, announcing that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah is safe and in good health and that she had been provided with a mattress and pillow due to her feeling uncomfortable sleeping on the wooden floor in her cell.

It is sad that Khalid did not realise that the announcement did not reflect on his sensitivity but the opposite, that it has to take a week for the head of the Police to realise that it is cruel, heartless and insensitive for the IGP not to take all necessary steps to ensure that a defenceless 60-year-old woman should be treated with all the decency and humanity she deserved while under police incarceration, on top of the baseless charge of detaining her whether as a terrorist or a traitor when she should be treated as a patriot par excellence of Malaysia.

Khalid cannot stop Malaysians from asking, even though not in his presence, as to why Maria Chin is held under Sosma for Bersih receiving puny funds from Open Society Foundation (OSF) while the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak can go scot-free for receiving astronomical RM4.2 billion from foreigners?

Maria Chin and Bersih had always advocated peaceful, non-violent and democratic process to bring about public awareness and public pressures for change, yet she could be treated like a terrorist to be placed under Sosma allowing for up to 28 days of detention without trial.

What has the nation become 60 years after Merdeka and 53 years after Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on all MPs, including from BN, to reject five-year extension of Sosma police powers to detain a person for 28 days for investigation with the pernicious abuse of powers in Maria Chin’s detention, which is vengeful, vicious, vindictive

It is no wonder that the Malaysian education system and standards are so atrocious when Puad Zarkashi, who was the Deputy Education Minister when the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act was passed in Parliament in April 2012, can now talk such rubbish that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin’s “misdeeds” fit Sosma perfectly.

Puad, who is UMNO supreme council member, cannot be so dumb as not to know that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who piloted the Sosma legislation through Parliament in April 2012, made a categorical assurance in Parliament which binds all Cabinet Ministers and Barisan Nasional leaders that Sosma legislation was meant to deal exclusively with the threat of terrorism and not meant for legitimate democratic activities like Bersih rallies, the first of which was held on 10th November 2007, Bersih 2 rally held on 9th July 2011, and the Bersih 3 rally held some ten days after Sosma was passed by Parliament on 28th April 2012.

I believe that if Nazri as the Minister responsible for the Sosma legislation had been asked pointedly in Parliament at the time in 2012 whether Bersih leaders, at that time led by Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasam, were likely to be targets and victims of Sosma detention, the answer will be a clear and categorical “No”, as even Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs would know that the Bersih coalition of NGOs was neither a violent nor terrorist organization but committed to a peaceful, non-violent and democratic campaign to raise national consciousness for clean, free and fair elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Is the Woman at the Heart of Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Protests?

Yenni Kwok
TIME
23rd Nov. 2016

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of women in yellow T-shirts marched to the parliamentary building in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, demanding the release of activist Maria Chin Abdullah, who was arrested last Friday. They carried banners and placards that said: “Women 4 Maria” and “Free Maria.”

The march marks the fifth day since Chin, chairperson of Bersih 2.0, a pro-democracy and anticorruption coalition group, was arrested last Friday, on the eve of a massive Bersih protest in the Malaysian capital.

Along with Chin, Malaysian authorities also nabbed her Bersih colleague Mandeep Karpal Singh and at least 12 other activists. All have been released, except Chin, the only one detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or SOSMA, an antiterrorism law that allows detention for up to 28 days without trial. The 60-year-old activist — who suffers from hypertension, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis — is reportedly being held in solitary confinement in a cell without windows and with lights kept on around the clock.

“This amounts to torture,” says a statement from the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, which organized the women’s march Wednesday.
Rights activists say Chin’s detention is unprecedented. “It’s the first time that a woman human-rights defender has been detained under SOSMA,” Lee Wei San, program coordinator at the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), tells TIME. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for immediate release of Bersih leaders Maria Chin, Hishamuddin Rais, four Pakatan Harapan MPs/SA Anthony Loke, Zuraida, Tian Chua and Howard Lee and others arrested in government’s Bersih 5 crackdown

Deepavali is the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair.

Because of man’s imperfections and weaknesses, this will be an eternal struggle.

The successful Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, where Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region, gender, age or politics came out as one people for democracy symbolized the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair – which was all the more remarkable as it was achieved against the backdrop of great odds and obstacles caused by a six-week high-powered UMNO-sponsored Red Shirt campaign of racial provocations, threats, hatred and unashamed cyber-bullying to frustrate and thwart the Bersih 5 rally.

The Bersih 5 rally was a clarion declaration by Malaysians for Malaysia to become a democracy and not a kleptocrary.

It was history-making as it was the first gathering of Malaysians since the US Department of Justice (DOJ) kleptocratic action in July against multi-billion dollar 1MDB embezzlement and money-laundering to defend the honour and good name of Malaysia in national and international society from the infamy and ignominy of being regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”!

But the darkness has not been completed dispelled in Malaysia, even gaining ascendance in some new areas – as witnessed by the government’s undemocratic Bersih 5 crackdown with the indiscriminate arrest of Bersih 5 activists, Pakatan Harapan elected representatives and NGO activists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib is the real loser in the successful Bersih 5 rally yesterday

There are those who say that that the greatest loser in the Bersih 5 rally yesterday were the Red Shirts, whose leader pledged a turn-out of over 300,000 people but could muster a turnout of only one per cent of some 3,000 to 4,000 people.

An inquiry should be conducted whether tens of millions of ringgit had been committed for a turn-out of 300,000 Red Shirts in Kuala Lumpur at Bersih 5 rally yesterday, and what happened to the mega sum of monies after such a dismal turnout of Red Shirts people, who clearly were quite ashamed of their actions which caused them to hide their faces.

But the real loser in yesterday’s successful Bersih 5 rally are not the Red Shirts, but the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself, without whom there would not be the Red Shirt phenomenon in the first place.

It is most remarkable that after a successful Bersih 5 rally, by whatever reckoning, the Prime Minister, far away in Lima, Peru, could say that Malaysians have become fed up with the Bersih electoral reform group or feel that its rallies do not bring any benefit to the country.

This is a classic case of a person able to see the speck in another’s eye but unable to notice the beam in his own eye. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians Rally at Anti-Najib Protest as He Vows to Stay On

Pooi Koon Chong and En Han Choong
Bloomberg
November 19, 2016

More ethnic Malays at 2016’s rally, Chinese still dominate

Thousands of Malaysians gathered in the country’s capital demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak as his critics sought to maintain pressure on the premier over a funding scandal.

Protesters in yellow shirts marched through downtown Kuala Lumpur amid heavy police presence as pro-government supporters threatened to disrupt the activities. Police said both sides didn’t have permissions to gather and closed roads ahead of the fourth major rally by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, since Najib came to power in 2009.

Bersih estimated 50,000 people attended the rally, including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who has been a leading critic of Najib in the past year. The police, which deployed 7,000 officers to maintain public order and prevent clashes, didn’t immediately provide a figure on the crowd size. Bersih’s protest in 2015 drew an estimated 300,000 people. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tens of Thousands of Protesters Call for Najib Razak, Malaysian Leader, to Resign

By RICHARD C. PADDOCK
New York Times
NOV. 19, 2016

Malaysians Demand Resignation of Premier

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, on Saturday to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of taking $1 billion from a government investment fund.

The protesters, wearing the yellow T-shirts of Malaysia’s clean government movement, known as Bersih, converged on the city center to hear their leaders call for Mr. Najib’s ouster. Among the speakers was former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 91, who once chose Mr. Najib as prime minister but now criticizes his former protégé’s government as corrupt.

The authorities had tried to thwart the daylong, peaceful demonstration by arresting at least eight protest leaders on Friday, including Bersih’s chairwoman, Maria Chin Abdullah. She was being held under the country’s strict Security Offenses Act.

Human rights advocates criticized the arrests, which they said were aimed at suppressing turnout for the rally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian protesters march against Prime Minister Najib

By Rozanna Latiff and Praveen Menon | KUALA LUMPUR
Reuters
November 19, 2016

Tens of thousands of protesters, undeterred by the arrests of opposition leaders, marched in Malaysia’s capital on Saturday demanding that Prime Minister Najib Razak step down.

Protesters clad in yellow shirts marched through the heart of Kuala Lumpur bringing traffic to a standstill in several tourist spots, wrapping up peacefully in front of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers after an initial plan to assemble at Independence Square was thwarted by police.

Najib has faced criticism since the Wall Street Journal reported last year that around $700 million from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was diverted into the personal bank account of the prime minister.

Najib ran into further trouble when lawsuits filed by the U.S. Justice Department in July said over $3.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB, which was founded by Najib, and that some of those funds flowed into the accounts of “Malaysian Official 1”, whom U.S. and Malaysian officials have identified as Najib.

The demonstration is unlikely to shake the prime minister, who has denied wrongdoing and weathered the crisis, consolidating power by cracking down on dissenters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Braces for More Anti-Government Protests

Nash Jenkins
TIME
Nov. 18, 2016

As public opposition to his leadership has escalated, Najib Razak’s government has become more authoritarian

It’s difficult to say just how many Malaysians flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur during the last weekend of August 2015 — by some estimates, 200,000, most of them dressed in the shade of canary yellow that has become the de facto hue of the global pro-democracy movement. They were there to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who had allegedly embezzled nearly $700 million in cash from a suffering state-development fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. (Najib has consistently denied the allegations.)

The protest, organized by a confederation of pro-democracy and anticorruption activists known as Bersih (which in Malay means clean), was one of Malaysia’s largest public gatherings in recent memory, and certainly the most spirited. “Malaysia is literally the perfect country … and it’s been completely spoiled by corruption and money politics,” one protester said at the time. “We’re finally tired of it.”

That was 15 months ago. This weekend, Bersih will reconvene, in Kuala Lumpur and in Malaysian communities around the world. But if the demonstration in 2015 was an exemplification of the democratic spirit — defiant, outspoken, responsibly optimistic — this weekend’s protests will likely demonstrate the frustration of that spirit when its ambitions are deferred.

Najib is still in power, and is in fact more powerful than ever: as public opposition to his leadership has escalated, his government has cracked down on Malaysia’s civil society, jailing his critics and blocking access to websites that publish controversial information. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Protesters Gather Despite Arrests, Rally Ban

By YANTOULTRA NGUI and CELINE FERNANDEZ
Wall Street Journal
November 19, 2016

Najib Razak’s government has clamped down on opposition after questions emerged over the management of a state investment fund

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to demand the resignation of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, the day after police banned the protest and arrested two of the activists who planned it.

The arrests came hours after police and regulatory officials on Friday raided the office of the activist group known formally as the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, but better known as Bersih, the Malay word for clean.

​According to the pair’s lawyer, Bersih Chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah was detained as part of a police investigation into whether she should be charged for the crime of attempting to undermine Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy. The lawyer said police arrested Mandeep Singh, who is secretary of Bersih’s secretariat, as part of an investigation into whether he should be charged with rioting.

Police later confirmed the arrests and subsequent detention of at least eight other Bersih activists. Law enforcers also told the Bersih group’s lawyers that Ms. Chin was detained under the country’s security laws while the investigation into her activities continued. Three organizers of a counter-demonstration by a pro-government group known as the Red Shirts were also arrested, according to the Red Shirt group. Police on Friday banned both rallies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia intensifies crackdown on anti-corruption protesters

Jeevan Vasagar
Financial Times
NOVEMBER 19, 2016

Thousands take to the streets after leader is arrested under anti-terror law

Malaysian authorities have intensified their crackdown on anti-corruption protesters, detaining the leader of a campaign group under antiterrorism legislation as thousands of demonstrators gathered on the streets of the capital demanding the resignation of prime minister.

Protesters in yellow T-shirts flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, waving Malaysian flags and caricatures of Najib Razak, who has been buffeted by allegations of corruption relating to state investment fund 1MDB.

Ahead of the protest, Maria China Abdullah, who chairs the Bersih reform movement, was arrested. Fellow campaigners said on Saturday that she had been held under antiterrorism legislation which allows 28 days detention without trial.

Ambiga Sreenevasan, a lawyer and Bersih activist, tweeted: “I am so very shocked to hear they are holding Maria under Sosma. What an utter abuse of power.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Thousands rally in Malaysia to demand the scandal-ridden prime minister resign

Simon Roughneen
Los Angeles Times
19th November 2016

Thousands of Malaysian opposition demonstrators marched in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday against alleged corruption in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government, a day after the protest organizer was arrested on charges of subverting democracy.

Throngs of yellow-clad protesters – the signature color of an electoral reform movement known as Bersih – rallied in defiance of a police ban and what they described as an ongoing campaign of official intimidation.

Demonstration organizer Maria Chin Abdullah, the chairwoman of Bersih, was arrested Friday evening on charges of activity “detrimental to parliamentary democracy.” The leader of a rival pro-government group was detained early Saturday, ostensibly an effort to prevent the two sides from clashing on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, a lively business hub.

Police blocked access to Kuala Lumpur’s main plaza, where protesters hoped to congregate and replicate demonstrations of past years. State news agency Bernama said that 15 people were arrested for “illegal assembly” at what was otherwise a peaceful protest.

The rally was a show of strength by Najib’s opponents but looked unlikely to shake his hold on power, which has weakened amid allegations that around $700 million in public money was deposited into bank accounts in his name. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thousands demonstrate against scandal-hit Malaysia PM

Aljazeera
19th November 2016

Protests against Najib Razak continue in Kuala Lumpur, where thousands of ‘yellow shirt’ anti-PM demonstrators gather.

Thousands of anti-government protesters marched in Malaysia’s capital demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak over his alleged involvement in a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal.

Clad in yellow shirts and unfazed by arrests of activists and opposition leaders, protesters marched on Saturday from various spots towards downtown Lumpur amid tight security.

Najib, who is attending an Asia-Pacific summit in Lima, Peru, has kept an iron grip since graft allegations emerged two years ago involving the indebted 1MDB state fund that he founded. 1MDB is at the center of investigations in the US and several other countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bersih and its followers and detractors

Mariam Mokhtar | November 19, 2016
Free Malaysia Today

The people who say it’s not the time to rally must tell us when the right time is.

You would have to be living on another planet to be unaware of Malaysia’s worst financial scandal and political crisis in recent memory. In her series of exposes on 1MDB, Clare Rewcastle-Brown has alleged that our leaders are ill-equipped to deal with large scale corruption. Many certainly agree that the 1MDB affair is about fraud on a massive scale.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that our so-called democratic system and institutions cannot stop Malaysia’s slide to becoming an international pariah. The right to dissent has been taken away from us. We are threatened with the Sedition Act and a slew of other draconian laws. The avenues for discourse have been reduced to so few that a complete overhaul of our institutions has become necessary if Malaysia is to retain any respect from the democratic world.

That’s why it’s important to support Bersih. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mahathir decries ‘thieves’ running Malaysia

AP
Bangkok Post
19 Nov 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad called for a sustained push to topple scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak as thousands rallied on Saturday to demand the premier’s resignation over the 1MDB corruption saga.

Malaysians clad in the yellow of the reformist Bersih campaign flooded Kuala Lumpur for the second time in 15 months to vent their anger over allegations that billions of dollars were looted from state investment fund 1MDB, Najib’s brainchild.

Speaking to a crowd of at least 20,000 in the shadow of the Petronas Towers, Mahathir, 91, accused Najib of stealing public money and said Malaysia was “controlled by thieves”.

“Time has come for us to topple this cruel regime. Najib is no longer suitable to be the prime minister. He is abusing the law,” Mahathir said.

Malaysia has been gripped since last year by the 1MDB scandal, which has sparked investigations in several countries. Najib, 63, and 1MDB deny wrongdoing. Read the rest of this entry »

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