Archive for category Najib Razak

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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A Malaysian Political Cartoonist on Facing His Fears, and Prison, for Art

New York Times
NOV. 29, 2016

HONG KONG — When protesters disrupted an art exhibition by Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, a political cartoonist, at the George Town Literary Festival in Malaysia on Saturday, he assumed that the police would want his help identifying those responsible.

Instead, said Mr. Zulkiflee, who goes by the name Zunar, he was questioned by the police, detained for a day and informed that he was under investigation for producing cartoons that purportedly defamed Prime Minister Najib Razak.

It was not the first time Mr. Zulkiflee, who already faces nine charges of sedition and is barred from leaving the country, has courted trouble with his pen. His cartoons frequently target Mr. Najib, who is accused of taking millions of dollars from a state investment fund. Mr. Najib has faced widespread calls to resign, most recently at an anticorruption demonstration this month that drew tens of thousands in Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

In an interview, Mr. Zulkiflee, 54, discussed how social media has become an increasingly important channel for political dissent in Malaysia, and why he continues to use his art to investigate corruption and injustice without dwelling too much on the risks. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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The Observer view on corruption, repression and violence threatening fragile democracies

Observer editorial
27th November 2016

Malaysia, Thailand and Burma are all suffering a backwards slide from the basic standards expected of modern-day representative democracies. While the reasons vary, the results are similar: growing public unrest, increased state repression, negative economic effects, weakened institutions and reputational damage.

Malaysia vividly exemplifies these phenomena. The former British colony has never been a faultless democracy. The United Malays National Organisation, representing the ethnic Malay majority, has held power since independence in 1957. The mostly non-Muslim, ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, whose ancestors were shipped in by the British as cheap labour, have suffered historical discrimination, yet this furore has little to do with history, race or religion. It is about probity in government – which appears to be sorely lacking.

The problem centres on Najib Razak, the prime minister, who is alleged to have benefited from the disappearance of $3.5bn from a state-owned investment company called 1MDB. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that $700m was diverted to Najib’s personal bank account. In July, the US justice department alleged wrongdoing by “Malaysian Official 1”, identified as Najib. For his part, Najib flatly denies any wrongdoing.

However, his administration has delayed a parliamentary investigation, purged internal critics and further intimidated Malaysia’s much put-upon independent media. Demonstrators have been attacked by pro-Najib thugs and protest organisers arrested. Last week, the US expressed concern about the continuing detention under counter-terrorism laws of Maria Chin Abdullah, chairwoman of the Bersih pro-democracy group. No one has been charged over the missing funds.

This scandal has gone on for too long. Najib’s leadership has grown toxic. For the good of his country and its creaking democracy, he should stand down, at least until an independent inquiry has established the facts of the 1MDB matter. Sadly, the likelihood of that happening is slim. If Najib can survive in office, he will. 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

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
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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Trump Tantrum Puts Malaysia in Spotlight

November 24, 2016

It’s time the nation’s embattled leader looked in the mirror and examined his role in the ringgit’s recent plunge.

No country in Asia plays the blame game like Malaysia. When the economy crashed in 1997, it faulted speculators and Jews. When it stumbled in 2013, it fingered the Federal Reserve. When Prime Minister Najib Razak tried to explain away an ongoing corruption scandal, he talked of overseas conspirators. Malaysia’s latest scapegoat? Donald Trump.

Granted, this last deflection isn’t as fanciful as the others. Malaysia has as much, or more, to lose from the president-elect killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as any nation engaged in the deal. And Trump’s shock victory on Nov. 8 has emerging markets running scared about the direction of American economic and foreign policy.

But blaming Trump for the ringgit’s dismal performance is just shameless. Valid reasons for the currency’s 5% plunge over the last 17 days include an outsized dependence on oil revenue, the failure by a succession of leaders over the last 20 years to restructure the economy and the scandals overwhelming Najib’s government and his party. Read the rest of this entry »

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The battle lines in the 14GE is “democracy vs kleptocracy” and the political challenge is to create an united opposition coalition committed to constitutional and democratic reforms in Malaysia

Former PAS leader and Kelantan State Assemblyman for Salor Datuk Husam Musa has predicted that the 14th general elections is likely to be held in March or April, as he expects PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private members’ motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Juriseiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 to be debated only after the 14th general election.

Husam sees the move by Hadi to table and defer his private member’s bill motion for a second time on the last day of the 25-sitting budget meeting on Thursday as a ruse and “effective gambit” to create a “win-win” situation for both PAS and UMNO – where PAS can show that its “355” gambit was not a failure, and where UMNO can “milk” political capital from the issue not only in next week’s UMNO General Assembly but also in the 14GE.

Husam may be right, but there is another possible scenario – with Parliament meeting in March, but no debate on Hadi’s private member’s motion.

Instead, the UMNO/BN government will take over Hadi’s private member’s bill, which had not even reached the “first reading” stage in Parliament, and present it to Parliament as a government bill for first reading. An all-party Parliamentary Select Committee will then be formed in the March meeting of Parliament to study the UMNO/BN government’s “takeover” of Hadi’s private member’s bill for a report to be submitted to Parliament, whether in the July/August or October/November meetings of Parliament. 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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Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal – Nothing to see here

Nov 19th 2016

Billions are stolen; only a whistle-blower goes to jail

IT IS more than two years since Malaysians began asking awkward questions about 1MDB, a state-owned investment firm from which billions of dollars are missing. But Malaysia has yet to prosecute anyone in connection with the scandal, perhaps the gravest in its history. Instead, on November 14th a local court handed a prison sentence to Rafizi Ramli, an outspoken opposition politician who has done much to educate the public about the affair. If Mr Rafizi’s appeal is rejected he will spend 18 months in jail.

Mr Rafizi’s offence was to leak details from a report into 1MDB’s dealings which had been produced by Malaysia’s auditor-general, but which the government had declared classified. Mr Rafizi had publicised a brief passage from the report to support speculation that the state firm’s massive losses could have delayed certain payments to Malaysian veterans (the organisations involved reject this claim). The government had initially promised that the auditor-general’s report would be released to the public in full, as is the convention. Now it is using the Official Secrets Act to silence those who refer to it.

Mr Rafizi’s conviction may prevent him from defending his parliamentary seat at the next general election. It adds to a string of legal battles hampering the opposition, which is readying for polls that may be called next year. Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader, has been imprisoned since 2015 on flimsy sodomy charges. A corruption case is presently being pressed against Lim Guan Eng, the chief minister of Penang (an opposition stronghold). 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
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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Nur Jazlan’s statement that Maria Chin’s arrest under SOSMA was not because of terrorism is irrefutable proof that Najib is the undisputed “U-turn King” and Malaysia’s most untrustworthy Prime Minister whose promises and pledges, even in Parliament, are not worth a single sen

Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan’s statement yesterday that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin’s arrest under SOSMA was not because of terrorism is irrefutable proof that Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the undisputed “U-turn King” and Malaysia’s most untrustworthy Prime Minister whose promises and pledges, even in Parliament, are not worth a single sen.

In fact, the extraordinary scenario where the Najib administration through one Minister makes a solemn pledge about a new law in Parliament is contradicted when the law is implemented by another Minister was foreseen by the DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok during the winding-up debate enacting the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) in the Dewan Rakyat on 17th April 2012, when she posed the question:

“Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Seputeh): Yang Berhormat Menteri, kenapakah selepas rang undang-undang ini di luluskan di Dewan ia akan dilaksanakan oleh Kementerian Dalam Negeri, tengok Kementerian Dalam Negeri semalam kebanyakkan masa tidak ada, tidak mendengar keluhan daripada pihak di sebelah sini dan juga macam mana dia boleh melaksanakan apa yang dicadangkan oleh Dewan ini.”

At the time, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz, who was responsible for the passage of the SOSMA bill in Parliament, ridiculed Teresa Kok’s concerns boasting:

“Tuan Yang di Pertua, Yang Berhormat Seputeh, saya ini Menteri yang menjaga Parlimen dan ditambah juga dikatakan sebagai de facto Menteri undang-undang. Ini ada kaitan dengan Parlimen dan ada kaitan dengan undang-undang……kalau saya hendak, saya boleh menjawab bagi mana-mana pihak oleh sebab saya dalam keadaan yang emergency kalau sekiranya ada orang yang tidak dapat hadir, tidak melanggar apa-apa peraturan untuk saya menjawab bagi pihak mana-mana kementerian.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Anti-graft crusader Clare Rewcastle-Brown draws Malaysia arrest threats

The Australian
November 21, 2016

Until late last week, British journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown was looking forward to visiting Singapore and Sydney to march with thousands of people protesting over the Malaysian government’s 1MDB corruption scandal that she has been probing for years.

That was before an alarming discussion with her lawyers ­swiftly ended the trip.

Rewcastle-Brown was warned last week in no uncertain terms: the threat of arrest was far too high, due in part to the latest ­attempt by the Malaysian government to silence the investigative journalist.

“The threat of arrest has ­become quite real,” the veteran journalist told The Australian from her home in London.

“The case about 1MDB and (Singapore’s) BSI bank has been a major case in Singapore. So they have special extradition arrangements with Malaysia, and I was told that Malaysia had been putting enormous pressure to try one way or another to get their hands on me. The lawyers told me it just wasn’t worth the risk,” she said. 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
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

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
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
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

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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