KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian group that has staged huge political demonstrations in the past will hold another rally in November to protest against the country’s scandal-tainted prime minister, its chairwoman said on Wednesday.
Demonstrators will demand the resignation of Najib Razak, who is under fire over his alleged involvement in the looting of billions of dollars in state funds.
A date for the November rally will be announced on September 14, said Maria Chin Abdullah, chair of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.
The group, an alliance of NGOs and civil-society groups commonly known as “Bersih”, the Malay word for “clean,” is the country’s most prominent political pressure group and previous rallies have ended with demonstrators clashing with police.
In 2015, it drew tens of thousands of people to peaceful demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur and other locations to demand Najib’s removal over the spectacular corruption scandal, shutting down the capital for two days.
“We will definitely have Bersih 5 in November,” China was quoted saying by news website Malaysiakini.
Contacted by Agence-France Presse via sms, she declined to provide further details but said more information would emerge next week.
Najib has so far fended off mounting calls to answer allegations that billions were looted from a state-owned investment fund he founded.
Najib and the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), deny any wrongdoing.
But the US Justice Department filed lawsuits in the United States in July alleging a massive international conspiracy by Najib’s relatives and associates to steal billions from 1MDB.
Although the suits did not name Najib outright, they effectively accused him in the filing which describes how “Malaysian Official 1,” family members, and close associates diverted billions from the fund.
Bersih was first formed to press for reform of Malaysia’s electoral system, which critics say is biased in favor of the long-ruling coalition government now headed by Najib, but has increasingly taken up other issues as well.