It’s a go.
Details about the Bersih 5 rally will be announced today by organising committee Bersih 2.0. This is coming after Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar gave approval for the rally to go on, on condition that it abides by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and does not demand the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
MMO quoted a source from Bersih 2.0 as saying, “No tentative date. Plan is to have it in October, with a series of rallies every two weeks at least leading up to it.” It is understood that the series of rallies will take place at various locations starting tentatively in a week or so, before the main Bersih 5 street demonstration in October.
Bersih 5 would mark the 5th time that the coalition’s street demonstrations are being held, with this installment focused on pressing for action on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case, following the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) lawsuits over assets linked to the state investment firm. Opposition parties have also expressed interest to join the Bersih 5 rally.
According to the US DoJ, the 1MDB-related lawsuit filed last month was the largest case ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. US prosecutors said more than USD3.5 billion (RM14.23 billion) in 1MDB funds were allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of the local state investment firm and their associates between 2009 and 2015.
The funds allegedly embezzled and laundered into the US were purportedly used to buy luxury properties in New York, Los Angeles, and London, paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, a USD35 million jet, as well as to pay for gambling debts in Las Vegas.
More details to come later as Bersih 2.0 has scheduled a press conference at 12:30pm to make an “important announcement”.
Media alert: BERSIH 2.0 press conference, 3 Aug 2016(tomorrow), 1230 pm at BERSIH's office. All media personnel are invited. #media
— BERSIH 2.0 (@bersih2) August 2, 2016
The first Bersih rally was held in 2007. All Bersih rallies excluding the marathon Bersih 4 (which lasted for about 34 hours in Kuala Lumpur) culminated in clashes between the police and the protestors. The Bersih 4 rallies, which were carried out on 29th to 30th August in major cities in Malaysia (namely Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching), was the only rally to have successfully taken place and wrapped up without any violence.
Meanwhile, UMNO’s Jamal Yunos of the infamous Red Shirt movement has threatened to hold a counter rally, should Bersih 2.0 go on with their Bersih 5 rally. Jamal Yunos said that the Red Shirt movement will hold their counter rally in the same place as the Bersih 5 rally.
UPDATE (14th September, 2pm):
Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah has confirmed that the Bersih rally will be held on 19th November, instead of the previously announced tentative date in October. This was also confirmed by the official Bersih Twitter account just a moment ago.
— BERSIH 2.0 (@bersih2) September 14, 2016
“Bersih believes not protesting is not an option. Malaysians must stand united and take a strong stand against this grand corruption and the failure of our institutions,” Maria told reporters.
The 19th November 2016 rally will call for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak to allow an independent investigation into the financial scandal at 1MDB.
More details to come.