Malaysia’s Prime Minister: Corruption Evidence Mounts

Malaysia’s anti-graft agency has said the funds paid into Prime Minister Najib’s account were a donation from the Middle East, which came just before a 2013 election, but the identity of the donor has not been revealed.

Protesters gathered on Saturday for a two-day rally in Kuala Lumpur to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, bringing to the streets a political crisis over a multi-million-dollar payment made to an account under his name.

The Malaysian leader has weathered weeks of attacks since it was reported that investigators probing the management of debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had discovered the unexplained transfer of more than $600 million.

Protesters hope to spark a people’s power movement forcing Najib out.

Kuala Lumpur authorities rejected an application by pro-democracy group Bersih – “clean” in Malay – for a protest permit. Police used water cannon and teargas to disperse protesters at Bersih’s last big rally in 2012.

The government has blocked access to Bersih’s website and banned wearing of its signature yellow T-shirts under an order prohibiting material prejudicial to public order and security.

The anti-graft movement Transparency International called on the Malaysian government to respect the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully without fear of reprisal.

Najib, 62, has denied wrongdoing and says he did not take any money for personal gain but has tightened his grip on power through a series of deft steps to sideline would-be dissenters.

He sacked his deputy and other ministers who had publicly questioned him, and the attorney-general who was investigating 1MDB was replaced. Authorities suspended two newspapers and blocked access to a website that had reported on 1MDB.

Najib retains significant support from the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and from within his party, the United Malays National Organisation.

The coalition, in power since 1957, lost the popular vote for the first time in 2013 to an opposition alliance that split this year.

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