Two weeks ago, rx the US Department of Justice (US DOJ) announced that they are taking legal action to recover more than $1 billion in assets associated with funds defrauded and laundered from 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), click a company wholly owned by the government of Malaysia.
Malaysians were shocked by the revelation, and many have expressed anger against the international scale of corruption and theft involved. In any functioning democracy, such criminal exposé would have already resulted in those implicated to take leave if not to resign; full and independent investigations would have taken place without interference from the executive; and the case would have been sorted out domestically and not dragged on for years.
Following the US DOJ lawsuit, there is a lot of expectation for BERSIH2.0 to organise a rally to protest against the 1MDB grand corruption, that is worsening by the day. In the past two weeks, BERSIH2.0 has held a series of consultations on this issue with a wide range of groups, including BERSIH2.0 endorsing NGOs, non-endorsing NGOs, grassroots groups, youths, academicians, opinion leaders, and various concerned citizens.
Based on these consultations, it is noted that BERSIH 2.0:
- condemns the government’s continuing denial and inaction on the 1MDB scandal. Instead of taking action, the government has interfered in the investigations by Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) and 1MDB taskforce; sacked the Deputy Prime Minister; replaced the Attorney General, MACC Chief Commissioner and two other senior officers; and used oppressive laws, travel restrictions, and police intimidation against activists and politicians to silence their views.
- believes that not protesting is not an option. As citizens, we must make a strong stand against this grand corruption and betrayal of trust. There is a serious dereliction of duty by the Prime Minister and cabinet members who are entrusted to protect the interests of the people. They have allowed the 1MDB scandal to escalate over a period of 5 years without any compulsion for accountability. They must institute investigations and immediately arrest Malaysian Official No. 1 for his crimes. If they continue with their inaction, the PM and his cabinet must resign.
- will be organising a BERSIH 5 rally to pressure for greater accountability and actions. The date and details of the BERSIH 5 rally will be announced in due course. At present, BERSIH 2.0 strongly feels that we need to focus on building a united Malaysia by gathering more diverse groups and stakeholders for this rally. BERSIH2.0 will continue its consultation and mobilisation processes leading up to the BERSIH 5 rally.
BERSIH 2.0, together with the NGOs and concerned citizens have initiated various weekly actions to protest against the 1MDB scandal. These include a planned #TangkapMalaysianOfficial1 protest by the youth on 27th August 2016; the submission of memoranda to various government institutions; and the lodging of police reports against Malaysian Official No. 1. We fully support these actions.
Despite the impunity of the regime, Malaysians must not remain silent or accept the kleptocracy and corruption that has happened. We must continue to demand for answers and hold those implicated accountable. We will work hard on the above challenges and encourage every Malaysian to continue the struggle for a united Malaysia.
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee