Archive for November 20th, 2016

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 »


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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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

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

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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