Malaysian protesters ask Prime Minister Razak to resign

Growing public outrage over fraud allegations in Malaysia leads to massive protests against Prime Minister Najib Razak

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A protester wearing 'Bersih' (Clean) mask tends a stall at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur August 29, 2015.

Thousands of protesters filled the streets of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday. 

The anger and outrage started in the country shortly after the revelation of documents by the Wall street Journal, showing that Razak funneled some $700 million into his personal accounts from entities connected to indebted state fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The 1MDB state fund was founded by Najib Razak in 2009 to attempt strategic initiatives to sustain the country’s economic development by forging global partnerships and encouraging foreign investments.

He denied all allegations, saying that the money was accepted as a donation from unidentified Middle Eastern sources.

Wearing yellow t-shirts and blowing horns, thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Kota Kinabalu and Kuching cities on the Malaysian side of Borneo, to display their anger against the fraud scandal.

Following Bersih's request for an application for a permit to protest, Malaysian police declared that the protests are illegal, blocking the Bersih website and banning the wearing of yellow t-shirt's with the movement’s logo.

Malaysian officials tightened security ahead of the mass protests, pilling security forces throughout the capital to prevent possible army intervention.  

The anti-graft movement, Transparency International urged the authorities to respect the right of protest.

A chief for the organization, Jose Ugaz said “Malaysian government should listen to the concerns of its people.”

Protesters are hopeful their prime minister will step down, but according to political analysts, Bersih movement cannot attain success in the short term, due to facing great challenges over attaining broad public support and also lacking strong leadership.

"The rally will register as a big protest. But in terms of actual change, I don't think anything will happen immediately," said a chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Wan Saiful Wan Jan.


TRTWorld and agencies