Malaysia ex-PM urges rallies for protest against Razak

Video urging citizens to join Saturday rally is Mahathir Mohamad’s most vocal message for movement seeking PM’s resignation

Malaysia ex-PM urges rallies for protest against Razak

World Bulletin / News Desk

Malaysia's longest serving premier is rallying online for a weekend street protest to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The promotional video -- uploaded Wednesday -- is Mohamad's most vocal message of support for electoral reform group Bersih -- "clean" in Malay -- since he parted ways with Razak and his United Malays National Organization (UMNO) in February.

UMNO -- which Razak leads -- is a major political party in the National Alliance that has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957.

In the video, 92-year-old Mohamad asks all Malaysians to participate in Saturday’s protest, which has been organized annually over the past five years and is expected to attract some 100,000 people to the capital's Independence Square.

"Malaysia is now in distress. Najib's administration has caused the country to incur billions of ringgit in debt, which cannot be paid by the government and state," Mohamad says.

He stresses that “the ill governance” of Razak must be opposed and in a “definitive” manner -- such as by participating in the rallies, set to be held in all 13 Malaysian states.

"I hope all Malaysians will join this rally because they aim to find a way to heal our country, change the government, so that it would be no longer led by a person who has been accused of stealing so much money,” he adds.

"This is my hope and I hope all Malaysians will give their full support and participate in the Bersih rally."

During last year’s Bersih 4 rally -- which stretched over three days --- Mohamad made two appearances, in each calling on the prime minister to resign.

Bersih has planned to stage the protest’s fifth edition Nov. 19, demanding institutional reforms in the country and the resignation of Razak, who the movement demands take responsibility for a corruption scandal allegedly involving indebted state wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The rally will also pressure authorities for greater accountability and action to be taken against Malaysian Official 1 (MO1), who was named in a July lawsuit by the United States Department of Justice against individuals accused of involvement in misappropriating over $3.5 billion from 1MDB.

Bersih 5 will be a continuation of Bersih 4, believed to have attracted more than 200,000 protesters in August last year amid anger over a $681 million “political donation” allegedly sent by Middle East royals to Razak’s personal bank accounts. 

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Last Mod: 16 Kasım 2016, 13:14
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