Bersih 4.0 Update from freemalaysiatoday


August 29, 2015

Obama and Michelle Bersih 4.0

Best wishes from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC to all Malaysians at Bersih 4.0. The US President is montoring the situation closely from the East Wing. Let us show him and Michelle that we are a disciplined and peace-loving people who stand up for the Rule of Law, Freedom, Justice, and Democracy.–Din Merican

LIVE at Bersih 4: All peaceful around Dataran Merdeka

Stay tuned for updates on the Bersih 4 rally progressing in downtown Kuala Lumpur now.

UPDATED

5.12pm: Opposition leader Wan Azizah and her daughter Nurul Nuha are seeing leaving Dataran Merdeka and will return after the Maghrib prayers.

solat at Bersih 4.05.00pm: Muslim rally goers do not forget their religious obligations and perform the Solat Asar in front of the City Hall building.

4.58pm: Ambiga is seen leaving Dataran Merdeka and informs reporters she will be returning at 10pm tonight.

4.54pm: Speaking to rally goers, Ambiga said she misses the presence of PAS whose members were a no-show at the rally. She also says the main thing the government must do is “get rid of GST”.

ambiga4.50pm: What is believed to be a home-made bomb has exploded at Jalan Kinabalu. FMT Reporter Adam Abu Bakar, who was 30 metres away from the blast, said it was thrown from the flyover to the road below. There were no injuries.

4.44pm: City Hall officers have arrived to monitor and assist rally goers.

DBKL

4.36pm: With the skies turning cloudy, some rally goers are spotted leaving the scene. When asked why he was leaving, one man, who did not wish to be named, said he was headed back to Gombak.

pulang3 media pulang

4.21pm: Bersih 4 rally goers are seen sitting peacefully on the roads along Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja Laut. Earlier performers of the group BangsArt sang the song “Hidup Rakyat” (Long live the people) accompanied by drum beats.

Meanwhile Police presence at Dataran Merdeka is reported as being minimal. No FRU in sight.

4.20pm: Bersih 4.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah calls on MPs to table a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister once Parliament reconvenes in October. She says this is the main message from Bersih 4 to the government apart from calling for institutional reforms.

4.05pm: The crowd from Menara Maybank is approaching Dataran Merdeka.

4.00pm: Crowds cheer as Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng approaches the Dataran Merdeka area. He addresses the crowd, criticising Prime Minister Najib Razak for the RM2.6 billion donation he received and the falling ringgit. He says with the GST, the poor have become even poorer. “Everything has gone up (in price). I believe when the country’s leaders see us gathering here today, they will not be able to sleep.”

He adds, “The ringgit has dropped so badly to the extent we can’t go anywhere, not even Thailand. That’s why we come to Dataran (Merdeka) because that’s the only place we can be.”Maria Chin Abdullah is also around the vicinity.

3.40pm: The crowd from Sogo arrives at Dataran Merdeka. There are reports that some people are leaving the rally grounds.

dataran ramai

3.32pm: GHB’s Mat Sabu arrives in Dataran Merdeka and tells Bersih 4 organisers to ensure rally goers do not enter Dataran Merdeka. He says the programme will start at 4.30pm when Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah arrives. He tells rally goers to sit down, be quiet and to get to know each other.

3.30pm: GHB’s Ahmad Awang addresses the crowd and says he hopes this will be the last time that there will be a Bersih 4 before the Opposition defeats UMNO-BN and takes over Putrajaya.

Meanwhile Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali says that will such a good turnout, he is confident that Prime Minister Najib Razak can be ousted from Putrajaya.

3.20pm: Some rally goers are sitting on the roads along Jalan Tun Perak, slowing down the march to Dataran Merdeka.

3.15pm: Crowds are swelling around Dataran Merdeka as they are joined by over 3,000 from Masjid Negara shouting “Bersih! Bersih! Hidup Rakyat!”.

Rally goers from Brickfields numbering 5,000 have arrived at Central Market.

3.01pm: The estimated crowd from Menara Maybank walking towards Dataran Merdeka is 20,000.

2.45pm: GHB’s chairman Mat Sabu, in a fiery speech outside Masjid Negara, says all Malaysians gathered today would do so peacefully for the next 34 hours. “We are here today to save the country, the people and to say no to corruption. Tomorrow at midnight we will all shout “Merdeka!”

mat-sabu2

2.35pm: The rally goers at Jalan Parlimen leading to Dataran Merdeka are told to sit down. Malaysiakini reports Bersih 2.0 secretariat member Shukri Razab as saying,”Ladies and gentlemen who gather in front of the barricades, please do not storm in as Bersih has made a promise (not to do so). And the police will also take care of our safety.” 

2.30pm: Rally goers start their march from Brickfields carrying a large banner that says “Tangkap Najib”.

tangkap-najib

2.25pm: The march from Menara Maybank to Dataran Merdeka has begun.

2.20pm: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng addressing the crowd at Menara Maybank says, “We gather here today not for power, positions or money. We gather here not for ourselves, but for our children.”

2.19pm: GHB’s Mat Sabu tells rally goers at Masjid Negara that their presence at Bersih 4 today is a clear indication of their desire for Prime Minister Najib Razak to resign.

mat-sabu

2.17pm: Wan Azizah addresses the crowd gathered in front of the Sogo Shopping Complex.

wan-azizah

2.15pm: Maria Chin Abdullah in her speech at Menara Maybank, says the march today is to demand the Prime Minister step down so that Malaysians will get a clean government. This was followed by a two-minute long cheer by the almost 8,000 rally goers gathered there.

Meanwhile Khalid Samad who spoke at the same venue commended rally goers for being brave enough to have come out and demand for the prime minister to step down. He said Malaysians were people of great dignity. Khalid also said he would support a vote of no confidence on the prime minister because he has embarrassed Malaysians. His speech was followed by shouts of “Bersih! Bersih! Bersih!”

2.10pm: MP for Kota Raja Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud from GHB who is at Masjid Jamek calls for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s resignation and says the people are tired of his leadership.


dr-Mariah

Ambiga meanwhile tells rally goers at Brickfields that the people want clean elections and a clean government, “Hidup Bersih Hidup Rakyat!” and proceeds to lead the march to the Central Market.

ambiga

2.00pm: DAP Parliamentary leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang arrives at Masjid Negara while Opposition leader Wan Azizah and daughter Nurul Hana have arrived at Sogo Shopping Complex.

Number of rally goers at Central Market are approximately 4,000 at this point.

Lim-kitsiang

1.59pm: Former Bersih co-chair Ambiga Sreenevasan arrives at Brickfields.

1.50pm: Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah arrives at Central Market.

maria-chin

Activist Hishamuddin Rais and former MB of Perak Nizar Jamaluddin have just arrived in Brickfields to a cheering crowd. They crowd is anxiously awaiting for the nod to start marching. MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar is expected to arrive at 2.30pm.

According to Malaysiakini, approximately 50 Malaysians have gathered at Suzhou in China to mark Bersih 4. They came wearing the yellow Bersih T-shirts and carrying the Jalur Gemilang.

1.30pm: Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad has been spotted at Menara Maybank.

A huge Bersih 4 bunting carried by three rally goers is spotted. A driver passing by has rolled down his window to shout “Bersih!” with others shouting in unison.

Crowd at Menara Maybank approximately 5,000 now after being joined by those from the Masjib Jamek area. Drivers of almost every vehicle passing by honks in support.Shouts of “Bersih!” dominate accompanied by sounds of the vuvuzela.

Apart from wearing the yellow Bersih T-shirts, some have painted their faces in yellow with the words Bersih 4 on it.

Lawyers for Liberty co-founder Eric Paulsen and PKR’s Batu MP Tian Chua are spotted in front of the Sogo Shopping Mall.

1.16pm: Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad from GHB, who has been spotted, says supporters from Johor, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan are on the way to Kuala Lumpur.

The entrances to Dataran Merdeka are under tight police control by 200 personnel stationed there. Rally goers are steering clear of the area out of respect for Merdeka Day rehearsals taking place there. They have instead starting moving towards the Masjid Jamek area.

About 2,000 rally goers are now shouting “BERSIH!” non-stop.

bersih3

1.10pm: FMT reporters on the ground say the turnout today is peaceful overall with a mixed crowd of Malaysians showing up to participate in the Bersih 4 rally despite it being declared illegal by the authorities.

Every rally goer has also defied authorities by donning the yellow Bersih T-shirt that was declared illegal yesterday because it was an “undesirable item”.

Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB) leaders however have not been spotted yet leading their supporters.

12.50pm: About 2,000 people have gathered in front of the Sogo Shopping Mall and about the same number at Menara Maybank.

The crowd at Masjib Jamek that has gathered near the LRT station meanwhile has swelled to approximately 1,500.

bersih4 bersih5.

12.45pm: The Malaysian Insider reports that a petition to collect one million signatures for the release of former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim from prison, has started circulating among rally goers in front of the Sogo Shopping Mall.

Nandos adds to the spice of the rally by distributing free drinks to Bersih 4 rally goers.

According to Malaysiakini, some of those present at the rally were seen holding creative cardboard banners saying “I ‘hv NO MONEY TO PRINT A BANNER. PLEASE DONATE RM2.6 BILLION TO ME!!”

Another says, “People will eat grass if Najib does not resign” while another was spotted carrying a canvas bag with the words, “My Prime Minister embarrasses me”.

12.40pm: Some rally goers making the most of their time downtown to buy lottery tickets for the weekend at Jalan Masjid Jamek.

IMG-20150829-WA0097

12.35pm: FMT reporters say the mood is generally of a festive nature.

12.30pm: Bersih’s Mandeep Singh and student activist Adam Adli are seen leading a big crowd towards Central Market, obstructing traffic.

FMT reporter Arfa Yunus says some rally goers are carrying sunflowers to signify the colour of Bersih 4.  She herself received one. Another reporter Yusoff Mohamed received a bottle of mineral water from a good-hearted rally goer.

PKR Secretary-General Rafizi Ramli is seen looking jovial and posing with a crowd of rally goers as they gesture showing the number 4 to reflect the Bersih 4 rally.

rafizi

12.20pm: Over 300 Bersih rally goers at Menara Maybank have begun to march towards Dataran Merdeka although their group leader Selangor MB Azmin Ali has yet to make an appearance. The others are seen still standing along the roadside of Jalan Pudu.

Meanwhile Police trucks have begun to arrive at Central Market where crowds have reached almost 1,000 in number.

12.15pm: Police trucks and buses begin to arrive at Menara Maybank. Police officers start to control traffic. The crowd has now swelled to close to 1,500.

12.00pm: Crowds at Menara Maybank numbering in the region of 1,200 await the arrival of Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali. Rally goers are waving the Jalur Gemilang as traffic shows significant signs of slowing down.

Over at Central Market, crowds of between 600-700 people begin to gather.

IMG-20150829-WA0076

11.51am: Malaysian Insider reports from Kota Kinabalu that rally goers have been spotted erecting tents for their overnight camp out at the Teluk Likas public park 2.

11.45am: About 1,000 people have gathered in front of Central Market clamouring for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak and calling for the release of jailed former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

FMT reporter Arfa Yunus says it’s like Hari Raya celebrations down at Dataran Merdeka. Individuals without any affiliation to political parties or organisations are handing out drinking water to rally goers free of charge.

bersih6

bebaskan anwar

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11.30am: Crowds building up at the location of Central Market, Petaling Street, Masjid Negara, Sogo and Brickfields. People have also gathered at Menara Maybank where Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali will lead the rally.

Rally goers are seen waving the Malaysian flag and blaring the vuvuzela. Cars passing keep honking, showing their support for Bersih 4.

Malaysia political crisis poised for street showdown


August 29, 2015

BERSIH 4.0 :Malaysia Political Crisis poised for street showdown

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/78316de4-4d52-11e5-9b5d-89a026fda5c9.html#axzz3kBzkoQLS

FT Najib

Malaysia’s growing political crisis is on the brink of a showdown as tens of thousands of protesters prepare to pour on to the capital’s streets in an effort to topple Najib Razak, the scandal-hit prime minister.

The mass demonstration this weekend known as Bersih — or “clean” — is aimed at forcing the premier’s resignation, after it emerged that unexplained payments of almost $700m were made into bank accounts in his name.

The country’s anti-corruption commission has said the money was from unspecified Middle Eastern donors, rather than Malaysian state coffers. But critics claim the transactions are linked to huge debts run up by a state investment fund, whose troubles some see as emblematic of the misrule of the premier’s long-dominant United Malays National Organisation.

“There has to be some investigation and the result must be made public,” Maria Chin Abdullah, Bersih’s chairwoman, said of the payments. “[And] even if you got rid of Najib, this political system of corruption, draconian laws, using racial politics to divide us will continue.”

Lord of the Ringgit

Police have already sealed off areas of Kuala Lumpur ahead of a gathering the authorities have declared illegal. The organisers of Bersih 4.0 — three previous demonstrations have been held during political flashpoints of the past 10 years — are also organising protests in other cities across Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy.

Dr. Ooi Kee Beng, Deputy Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said: “This will probably be the biggest demonstration in Malaysian history. The sense of exasperation and helplessness is high in Malaysia right now, so the timing will encourage a huge turnout.”

The demonstration is the biggest popular challenge yet to Mr Najib’s rule of more than six years, which has extended the hegemony enjoyed by UMNO since Malaysia won independence from Britain 58 years ago on Monday. Security forces used tear gas and water cannon on protesters at a previous Bersih in 2012, the year before contentious elections in which the opposition won the popular vote but the UMNO-led coalition retained a parliamentary majority.

Mr Najib’s position has become more precarious as questions have arisen over how the 1Malaysia Development Berhad investment fund, whose advisory board he chairs, ran up debts of more than $11bn. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s still influential ex-premier, has called for Mr Najib to stand down.

Mr Najib insists he has done nothing wrong, but he has declined to offer a full explanation for the near-$700m money transfer. He was due to make a much-anticipated appearance at an international anti-corruption conference in Malaysia next week. The organisers’ website does not list him on the conference agenda, although a government spokesperson insisted the Premier still intended to speak as originally planned.

John Malott, a former US Ambassador to Malaysia, attacked the Prime Minister in a strongly worded column published on the Malaysiakini website this week, declaring that it was “game over for Najib Razak internationally”.

Mr Najib has attracted western leaders by casting Muslim-majority Malaysia as a moderate country committed to the fight against terrorism. He played golf with US President Barack Obama late last year and hosted a visit last month from David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, after evidence of the bank account payments surfaced.

Mr Malott said Mr Najib’s darker side had become increasingly apparent, as he had stifled opposition and become embroiled in questionable transactions. “There was always a gap between the real Najib . . . and the image people had of him,” Mr Malott said.

 

Bersih 4.0 is a Call for Democratic Reform in Malaysia


August 28, 2015

Good Luck to All Malaysians at Bersih 4.0. Don’t be easily provoked byDM B.40 agent provocateurs who will be among you on August 29 and 30. It is important that we keep our cool so that our protest will be peaceful and orderly. All will be lost if we cannot maintain order and discipline. Never give the Prime Minister the opportunity to declare a state of emergency and rule by decree. Remember the rest of the world is watching us in our struggle for democracy and good governance.–Din Merican

Opinion: Bersih 4.0 is a Call for Democratic Reform in Malaysia

by Maria Chin Abdullah

http://www.asiasentinel.com

Bersih4

This weekend, Malaysia will have a mammoth 34-hour “Bersih 4” rally in the national capital Kuala Lumpur and regional capitals Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in East Malaysia. Hundreds of thousands are expected to color the cities yellow, echoed by the Malaysian diaspora in 56 cities worldwide.

“Bersih” means “clean” in Malaysia’s national language. It is the fourth rally organized by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), a coalition now consisting of 88 civil society groups, which I chair.

The previous Bersih rallies held in 2007, 2011 and 2012, – all in yellow, our official color – had sought to advance Malaysia’s democratization process, by not only demanding for electoral reforms, but also catalyzing citizens to take ownership of their country.

This time, we are calling for clean elections, a clean government and the right to dissent, so that we may strengthen parliamentary democracy and save our ailing economy.

I have a Dream

We are also calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak. He chaired a state development company, 1MDB, which is now RM42 billion in debt with dubious dealings. Funds related to 1MDB totaling nearly US$700 million were found to have gone into his personal accounts in Malaysia, before nearly all of it was transferred back to another personal account in Singapore, which was closed after the funds were transferred out somewhere overseas.

Najib and his ministers have been quoted in news reports effectively saying that the money was used as a slush fund to win the 2013 general elections.  His coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) won the poll with only 47 percent of votes but 60 percent of the parliamentary seats due to extensive malapportionment and gerrymandering of the constituencies.

In any decent parliamentary democracy, a prime minister implicated in corruption of such scale would have been investigated for corruption and/or election misconduct by the Police and charged if there is sufficient evidence.

But before that, the Prime Minister might have resigned, been ousted by his parliamentary caucus or defeated in the parliament through a vote of confidence. In the best scenario, with the consent of head of state for parliamentary dissolution, he would be fighting a fresh election.

Unlike executive presidents who enjoy full-term tenure unless being impeached, prime ministers in a parliamentary democracy serve only as long as they enjoy the confidence of the Parliament.

Najib has instead responded by disarming and silencing his critics. He threatened to sue the Wall Street Journal, suspended two local business dailies and blocked an investigative news portal for exposing the 1MDB scandals.

He sacked his Deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and another senior minister for questioning him on the matter. The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was paralyzed with ministerial appointments which effectively removed its chair and three other members.

A multi-agency special task force on the 1MDB scandal was dismantled, with the Attorney-General abruptly removed, and officials from the Central Bank and Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested and investigated.   

Already hit by the 6 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed in May to replenish the state coffers, Malaysia’s economy is on a free fall as the assault on public institutions hurts market confidence.

The Malaysian ringgit has depreciated below the levels of RM4 to US$1 and RM3 to S$1.  The Malaysian and Singaporean currencies were on par in value when the two countries split exactly 50 years ago.

The Bersih 4 rally will end just before the nation’s independence celebration on August 31. In Kuala Lumpur, the rally venue will be in the vicinity of Merdeka Square, where the first announcements of Merdeka –Independence – were made in 1957 by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the father of the country.

But this is neither another Arab Spring nor another color revolution. Malaysia’s struggle for democracy is completely different from those of the Arab countries for two reasons.

First, Malaysia started off as a democracy in 1963 when four former British colonies – Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore – merged. Second, we are multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual while having a Malay-Muslim majority.

The first fact made us a Westminster parliamentary democracy with constitutional monarchs at both federal and state levels. The second fact, many pundits believe, poses a challenge to democracy or even statehood.

Najib’s institutional might to defy all democratic checks and balances stems from the dominance of ethno-religious politics in Malaysia. His United Malays National Organization (UMNO) has ruled Malaya and later Malaysia in coalition since 1955, two years before Malaya’s independence.

When a Sino-Malay riot broke out in Kuala Lumpur after the ruling coalition suffered significant setbacks in the 1969 elections, his father and then Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Razak took the opportunity to turn the country into a de facto one-party state with elections.

The party-state has three pillars: electoral manipulation, suppression of dissent and the New Economic Policy (NEP) that privileges the Malay-Muslims to tie them to UMNO.

The one-party state morphed into personal rule under 23 years of Mahathir Mohamad’s premiership.

Dr.  Mahathir made the seat of Prime Minister more powerful than an executive president by sacking top judges, taming the Parliament, and creating a huge Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) that makes even the cabinet a rubber stamp.

Today, in Najib’s 37-member cabinet, 11 are placed in the Prime Minister’s Department and Razak also holds the powerful Finance portfolio, a convention set by Mahathir.

Mahathir, once Najib’s pivotal backer, has turned around to be his strongest critic. The former premier wants Najib to resign to save UMNO and revive his old-style authoritarianism. For Bersih, we don’t want to just change a corrupt Prime Minister. We want to change a political system that produces corrupt, authoritarian politicians in the name of ethno-religious nationalism. We don’t want a revolution. We want a smooth transition from a decaying one-party state to a vibrant multiparty democracy. That cannot happen in another Arab Spring.

We have dared Najib to do two things. First, promise safety for the Bersih 4 rally so that he could dismiss us if Malaysians do not support our call. Second, seek a vote of confidence in the Parliament after the rally – if he has the backing of the Parliament, then regardless of the rally’s size, we accept his right to stay in power.

Unsurprisingly, Najib has ignored our challenges. He instead falls back to communalism to defend corruption. His spin doctors are now saying the US$700 million is a donation from Arab royals to fight an opposition purportedly controlled by the Jews.

While the Inspector-General of Police threatens us with arrests, thuggish groups are making open threats to rough up Bersih protesters. We experienced both police violence and the threat of riots in the Bersih 2 rally in 2012.

Paradoxically, Police violence has united Malaysians asking for democracy and good governance. Under fire of water cannons and tear gas, we realized we are not each other’s enemy despite our differences in ethnicity, faith, language and social class.

We went to the streets to seek democracy, only to find the nation we have long been denied, crying as we sang our national anthem Negaraku [My Country] in the streets.  We felt we were truly independent, overcoming both our distrust of each other and our fear of government. Bersih has proved to be a vehicle of not only democracy, but also of patriotism.

This time we Malaysians will rise again to the occasion. We will prove that diversity is not an obstacle to democracy. As corruption destroys us, where communalism divides us, democracy will unite and heal us.

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

Maria Chin Abdullah is chairman of the Bersih political reform NGO.  This was written for Asia Sentinel

Najib: No more Mr Nice Guy


August 28, 2015

Politics in Malaysia

No more Mr Nice Guy

Beset by scandal, Malaysia’s Prime Minister cracks down on dissent

Time Magazine to Obama: Steer Clear of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib


August 27, 2015

Obama Should Steer Clear of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Why

by Charlie Campbell

http://time.com/3974380/obama-malaysia-najib-razak-1mdb/

Washington is having serious trouble finding dependable allies in Southeast Asia

The U.S.’s “rebalancing” toward Asia has two main pillars: being a counterweight to China and securing a free-trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If Washington is to succeed on both fronts, it needs as many friends in the region as it can win. The U.S.’s newest ally is Malaysia, this year’s chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Nation, collectively a growing market, and, on the surface, a modern, democratic, Muslim country.

In April 2014 U.S. President Barack Obama paid an official visit to Malaysia, the first sitting President to do so in decades, and, later in the year, played golf with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak when both were on holiday in Honolulu. This November, Kuala Lumpur will host the next East Asia Summit and Obama is due to attend.

Obama_Najib-1mdbObama and the Sapuman

But recently, all the news coming out of Malaysia is negative. After becoming embroiled in a corruption scandal, Najib on Tuesday sacked his Deputy and Malaysia’s Attorney-General in an apparent purge of critics. British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing a domestic backlash for pushing forward with a visit to Kuala Lumpur this week despite the snowballing controversy.

Here are five reasons why Obama might want to break from Cameron by giving Najib a wide berth.

  1. 1MDB — A Wall Street Journal report has alleged that Najib’s personal bank accounts received nearly $700 million in March 2013 from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a government-owned development fund. Najib has protested his innocence and threatened legal action against the Journal. “I am not a thief,” Najib told Malaysian media on July 5. “I am not a traitor and will not betray Malaysians.” The police, the local anti-corruption agency, the attorney general’s office and the central bank are investigating the allegations. On July 8, the police raided 1MDB’s office in Kuala Lumpur and took away documents. Even before the latest news, 1MDB was an embarrassment for Najib, who chaired the fund’s advisory board as debts of $11.6 billion were accrued. Such are the suspicions of malfeasance that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ran the country from 1981 to 2003 and has long been considered Najib’s mentor, has repeatedly called for his protégé’s resignation over 1MDB’s alleged mishandling.
  1. Anwar Ibrahim — Najib’s main political rival is once again in prison for a sodomy conviction. Human Rights Watch deemed his five-year sentence handed down Feb. 10 to be “politically motivated proceedings under an abusive and archaic law.” This is the second time Anwar has been jailed for sodomy.
  1. Hudud — Stoning for adultery and amputation for theft are not the kind of punishments meted out by the progressive state that Malaysia purports to be. Yet Najib’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is supporting attempts to introduce hudud Islamic law in the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party’s (PAS) heartland state of Kelantan, where nightclubs are forbidden and men and women are designated separate public benches. Why is UMNO supportive of recognizing hudud under federal law? Largely because PAS is part of a three-party Pakatan Rakyat coalition that is UNMO’s chief challenger. The other partners — Anwar’s Keadilan, or People’s Justice Party, supported by middle-class, urban Malays, and the Chinese Malaysian–backed Democratic Action Party (DAP) — are strongly against hudud. Many analysts accuse UMNO of cynically fostering a radical Islamic bent to widen rifts in its political opponents.
  1. Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa — In 2002, when Najib was Defense Minister, a $1.25 billion contract was signed to purchase two Scorpène submarines from French firm DCNS. Altantuyaa was a Mongolian woman who, knowing French, facilitated negotiations as a translator, and then allegedly attempted to blackmail Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib’s aides with whom she was also having an affair, for $500,000 over “commission” payments he had allegedly received. Two Policemen posted to Najib’s bodyguard detail were convicted of murdering Altantuyaa on October 18, 2006. Najib denies any involvement.
  1. Prevention of Terrorism Act — Najib campaigned on scrapping the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) but then immediately replaced it with the equally sweeping Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or SOSMA. The POTA includes practically the same powers as ISA, including two-year detention without trial, and was dubbed a “legal zombie arising from the grave of the abusive [ISA]” by Human Rights Watch. Najib also vowed to repeal the similarly maligned Sedition Act but reneged after his election in 2013. In fact, in April his government extended the maximum jail term under the Sedition Act from three to 20 years.

bersih-4.0

 

Muhyiddin: UMNO is for all, not just for some


August 27, 2015

Muhyiddin: UMNO is for all, not just for some

 by Joe Fernandez@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

UMNO Deputy President Muhyiddin Yassin, who was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister on July 28,education minister muhyiddin_yassinhas expressed disappointment that there are people who seem to have quickly forgotten his four decades of service for the party including the time when it was declared unlawful.

“These people are labeling me a traitor to the party because of the twin nightmares, the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6 billion issue. It seems that it no longer matters that I helped UMNO return to strength in Johor as its fortress after it had to be registered again.”

“The critics are demanding that I give up the UMNO Deputy President’s post to which I was elected by members. Only our commitment to the truth and justice will save UMNO. The people are watching us. There are those who want to bring him before the Disciplinary Board of the party, he noted. “Among them are those that I have helped in various ways while I was in government.”

He added that the party’s image had been sullied and tarnished by the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the controversial RM2.6 billion political donation which did not go to the party but was instead deposited in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal accounts. “As the party number two, I have been trying to help manage the image of the party despite these two issues and others affecting it in the eyes of the people.”

“I am not the one affecting the image of the party but the twin scandals which are not going to go away unless we make an effort to resolve them. I appealed to my colleagues many times, while in government, to work together and help resolve the twin scandals which were eroding the confidence of the people in the party.”

He expressed regret that once a person no longer had a post in government, it seems the norm was to forget the past history of service, and instead disrespect and criticize the person. “I am facing this situation at the moment,” said Muhyiddin. “One of my harshest critic is a division chief in Selangor who himself has been asked by his members to step down on the grounds of loss of confidence in his leadership.”

Muhyiddin was recording his appreciation to his many supporters and UMNO Youth in particular, especially its leader Khairy Jamaluddin, who had declared his support for him as the party’s number two and taken a firm stand on resolving the twin scandals facing the party and government. “My spirit remains strong. Khairy has been guided by faith and a strong belief in the truth and justice in taking a firm stand on the twin scandals.”

“I will continue to struggle for the people, God and the nation. I am confident that Malays will not become a people who are looked down upon by others because I know that they will be guided by their faith, and the principle that the truth and justice matters in maintaining their dignity.”

We will be respected as a people, he continued, as long as we are led by leaders who are respected because they are trustworthy and god-fearing. “Leaders come and go, but the party goes on in the struggle for the people, God and the nation. I leave my fate in the hands of Allah just as the almighty will determine the fate of others as well.”

Muhyiddin went on in his statement to point out that the people were deeply concerned about the state of the economy, the declining exchange rate for the ringgit, the rising cost of living and the loss of confidence on the part of consumers and investors in the market, economy, the government and the country. “We need to restore the confidence of all stakeholders in Malaysia,” he said. “We need to take the bull by the horns on the various issues facing the country. Failure is not an option.”

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