Malaysia braces for anti-Najib rally in latest test for premier

PM Najib Razak

Bloomberg

Police blocked off parts of the Malaysian capital as thousands of protesters prepared to descend on the city for a weekend rally demanding Prime Minister Najib Razak’s resignation.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, expects about 200,000 people to demonstrate in Kuala Lumpur in its third major protest since Najib came to power in 2009. Police have deemed the gathering illegal and around 4,000 of them will be deployed.

Malaysia has faced two months of political upheaval after a report that Najib received billions of ringgit in his private accounts in 2013, and as he reshuffled the cabinet to remove detractors including his deputy.

While Najib has pushed back against detractors including former premier Mahathir Mohamad, and retains the support of senior officials in his party, a large rally would indicate growing public dissatisfaction with his leadership at a time the economy is slowing. Protests are also planned in other parts of Malaysia and countries including Australia.

“It will be the mother of protests — the police will jam the phone lines and make it difficult for us to protest,” said David Lee, a 23-year-old college student. “It’s our right. We want to say no to Najib.”

The concern is the political noise is distracting the administration from the financial turbulence hitting the country amid a broader regional slump, said Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Singapore. Foreign funds have dumped more than $3 billion of the nation’s shares this year and the ringgit hit a 17-year low.

“The fear is that it escalates into something violent,” Chua said of the protests.

Riot Police

Police have backed off a possible plan to use tasers, warning protesters not to break the law, MalaysiaKini reported this week. In 2012, riot police clashed with protesters who broke through a barricade at Independence Square, firing tear gas and water cannons. Over 400 people were arrested. Continue reading

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I’m not acting alone in suing Najib, confirms Umno woman

The Umno woman who was willing to take the bull by its horn by suing party president Najib Abdul Razak in court said she did not act alone.

Langkawi Umno division member Anina Saauddin said she acted in the interest of three million party members and on behalf of the people of Malaysia.

“Definitely I am not alone in this,” she told journalists at the Duta Court Complex today.

However she refused to divulge whether she acted along with other known critics of Najib such as former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad (photo).

The vocal member, who recently accused Najib of ‘cheating’ Umno’s three million members, said she filed the suit as a last resort after exhausting other available options.

“I started to talk about this at the Langkawi Umno women’s meeting on Aug 8. As an Umno member, I had filed a complaint with the Umno disciplinary board and I felt responsible to do this as well,” she said.

Anina named Najib and Umno executive secretary Abdul Rauf Yusof as defendants in the suit filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry this morning. Continue reading

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Speaking in London, Ambiga shatters four Bersih myths

     
by Mariam Mokhtar

OUTSPOKEN: The people who criticised Bersih failed to realise that, despite being unable to push through all of the electoral reforms it demanded, Bersih created a high level of awareness, among the public; about our democracy, our electoral process, the power and greed of Umno Baru politicians, and their desperation to cling to power.

As Bersih 4 nears, the Umno Baru supporters and politicians and the Muslim extremist groups are feeling the pressure. The depth of anger, among the Malaysian rakyat, is unprecedented. The rakyat demands that its parliamentarians restore democracy in the nation, uphold the rule of law, and reinstate the independence of its institutions.

Four common myths were shattered by Ambiga Sreenevasan, when she delivered a morale boosting pre-Bersih 4 talk, called “Why Bersih 4?”, in London on Aug 23.

Reclaiming democracy

On Aug 21, Ambiga Sreenevasan, wrote an article in The New York Times (NYT) about the necessity for Malaysians to take to the streets, in Bersih 4, to reclaim their democracy, lest they be “cheated” in GE14.

She criticised the prime minister for his mishandling of the economy, for allowing a state of lawlessness, and condoning an Election Commission (EC) which kept the ruling party in power, with its redelineation exercises.

Her article infuriated the Cheras Umno Baru Division chief, Syed Ali Alhabshee, who accused her of spreading “malicious lies” and “stirring-up emotions”. Continue reading

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Bersih spokeswoman labels Masing ‘racist’, prejudiced

karen,james

KUCHING: Bersih 4 Kuching spokeswoman Karen Shepherd, an Orang Asal with a British father from the days of the white rajahs and later British colonial rule, has expressed dismay that Senior Sarawak Minister James Masing attacked her in Bernama, the national news agency, on August 26 in “racist” terms by referring to her complexion and concluding that she was a foreigner interfering in the affairs of Sarawak and Malaysia. “Masing is being prejudiced. The Eurasians have contributed a lot to Sarawak.”

“They include the children of the deputy state secretary and the former state secretary, the nephews of the current Chief Minister, the children of the former Deputy Chief Minister, and the children of the former Director of Immigration and the children of the present Governor.”

One of her grandfathers, a half-Scot half-Chinese, she disclosed, was Sarawak’s first Director of Immigration and Registrar-General. “He probably signed Masing’s birth certificate.”

Masing has chosen to attack me, not for what I do or say, but instead he has chosen to attack me for the colour of my skin, cried Shepherd, the wife of Radio Free Sarawak DJ Peter John Jaban, an Orang Asal, who is also with the Sarawak4Sarawakians Movement. “Race politics is a stain on the nation and especially in Sarawak where people generally never bring up the subject of race and religion.”

Shepherd hastened to explain that she was born in Kuching, at the Sarawak General Hospital, is a Sarawakian and Malaysian citizen, with the Code 13 in her MyKad. Ironically, she pointed out that Masing’s own daughter, Anna, has a New Zealander mother. Continue reading

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Stop thinking M’sians are stupid, Dr M tells Najib

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his supporters should stop thinking Malaysians are stupid, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In a blog posting today, the former premier urged them to cease attempts to convince Malaysians that the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s private accounts is a donation.

“The public has a right to know because the public does not believe the RM2.6 billion was a gift personally to the PM of Malaysia for him to win elections.

“Malaysians would not like to believe their candidate for the highest office in the country is a nominee of some person from another country.

“What will be his obligation to his supporters? Will he serve Malaysians or some foreign country?” he added.

Mahathir reiterated his claim nobody believes such a huge sum could be donated to Najib for whatever reason.

“Explaining that it was given because of Malaysia’s stand against the Islamic State is absurd as the Islamic State showed their brand of terrorism only in 2014 whereas the money came in 2013 or before.

“Saying it is because of Malaysia’s moderation in Islam is equally absurd as Malaysia had never been extreme in its practice of Islam,” he added. Continue reading

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Don’t take rakyat for fools, says Johor Sultan

sultan-johor

PETALING JAYA: The Sultan of Johor has told Putrajaya to “immediately” resolve the political and economic crises the country is facing.

In an address marking the 50th anniversary of the Special Forces Regiment, he also told elected representatives to “set aside personal differences” and “shoulder the public responsibilities entrusted to them.”

Excerpts of the royal speech were uploaded to the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page.

Acknowledging that he could not interefere in political matters, he said he nevertheless was “responsible for the well-being and prospereity” of his subjects.

“I am aware and sensitive to the concerns of my subjects,” he said. “The unstable political and economic situation the country is in now, is a major issue which has to be dealt with immediately. Continue reading

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RM2.6b: Was it used for politics, elections, IS or the Jews?

Wanita Umno delegate Anina Saaduddin wants one definite and clear explanation as to what the PM used the RM2.6 billion donation for.

anina

PETALING JAYA: Umno members and the public at large deserve one definite and clear explanation and not different versions of what Prime Minister Najib Razak used the RM2.6 billion donation he received for, said Langkawi Wanita Umno delegate Anina Saaduddin.

In a 1.31 minute video uploaded on YouTube, Anina said that every time an attempt was made to explain how the donation was utilised, Umno members were “served” a different version for their consumption.

“For example, for politics… for elections… for ISIS (to fight Islamic State)… for (to fight) the Jews. And what’s next?”

She said the issue was an important one because it involved the ruling party Barisan Nasional and the explanation should not therefore be limited to just the three million Umno members but the public at large.

“Today we are not just faced with three million Umno members. We are facing 28 million Malaysians. Whether they are the voting public or not, they have the right to know the truth.

She also said it was high time Najib explain in clear terms how the money was spent.
Continue reading

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