Malaysia’s Razak calls for unity after mass protests

Malaysian Prime Minister calls for national unity as he refuses to resign following recent protests

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak attends the National Day parade in Kuala Lumpur, August 31, 2015.

Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, during his nationally televised speech on the country's Independence Day, called on Malaysians for unity and vowed not to resign.

Razak's call comes after tens of thousands of people rallied during the weekend, requesting his resignation over corruption allegations.

"If we do not unite, if there is no solidarity and cohesiveness, problems cannot be resolved, in fact everything that we have painstakingly built so far will be destroyed," the prime minister said.

"We reject any form of street demonstration that can jeopardise public order and only inconvenience the people, because it does not at all reflect maturity, much less the proper channel to express views in a democratic country," he added.

Razak has been facing accusations even from within his own party, since the Wall Street Journal reported that $700 million had been illegally transferred from 1MDB, a state investment fund set up by Razak when he was elected prime minister in 2009, to his personal accounts.

The government denied the allegations, as Malaysia's anti-corruption agency cleared Najib Razak’s name by saying the money was received from unidentified foreign donors.

Prime Minister Razak has dismissed many top officials who had criticised his handling of the scandal.

The movement against Razak is also supported by former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed, an ex-Razak ally and the longest serving prime minister in the history of the country. During the demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Mohamed said it is a must for the people to remove the prime minister from power.

Police says around 29,000 people participated in the two-day demonstrations, but Bersih, a coalition of non-governmental organisations, stated the figure as 200,000.

In his speech the Prime Minister also called the protests "improper" and "reflects a shallow mind and a poor spirit of nationalism."

"Judge the government through the ballot box in the coming general election," he said.

Despite the police declaring the rally in Kuala Lumpur illegal, it took place as planned and ended peacefully late on Sunday.


TRTWorld and agencies