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Friday, June 16, 2017

Resign! Bersih wants Najib out in wake of new allegations

Electoral watchdog Bersih has repeated its call for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to resign in wake of the new allegations in the United States Department of Justice's (DOJ) 1MDB-related court filings.
In a media statement, Bersih said it was appalled by the allegations surrounding the misappropriation of 1MDB funds.
“Bersih once again demands the resignation of the prime minister to make way for an independent investigation into 1MDB and the restoration of the independence of our institutions.
“Malaysians must not stop demanding accountability and transparency from our public officials. With the 14th general election fast approaching, we must make our voices heard in calling for an end to corruption and fraud in all our public institutions,” said the watchdog's steering committee.
Bersih said the DOJ filings also cast aspersions on attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali's decision to clear Najib of any wrongdoing in January last year.
“It directly contradicts Apandi by stating 1MDB was the only source of funds for the US$681 million transferred to Najib.
“This is a damning indictment of Malaysia’s public institutions,” it added.
The steering committee also noted that the reactions from the Prime Minister's Office, Apandi and inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar were to either accuse the DOJ of making insinuations against Najib, manipulating and interfering in domestic politics and a refusal to cooperate with the suit.
“However, no evidence has been provided to contradict the 251-page court filing.
“There is also no evidence to contradict the allegations and admissions that these funds were used to manipulate the results of the 13th general election through unparalleled bribery and money politics,” it said.
Bersih also claimed that these developments have reminded Malaysians of the removal of Apandi's predecessor Abdul Gani Patail, Muhyiddin Yassin as deputy prime minister and Mohd Shafie Apdal as a minister as well as the moves with regard to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which was investigating the allegations back in 2015.
“Since then, the Malaysian people have been given no clear explanation by our own institutions into the location of the missing funds.
“It has been seven years since the issues with 1MDB were first raised in Parliament, but the truth is still being kept from the rakyat.
“As an obvious indication of the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding this scandal, the auditor-general’s report into 1MDB remains under the Official Secrets Act,” it added.
In its two previous rallies, Bersih had called for Najib's resignation. Pro-government have accused the organisation of being an opposition tool.

In the third and latest filing yesterday, the DOJ puts the allegedly misappropriated figure at US$4.5 billion and is seeking to seize US$1.7 billion in assets purportedly acquired using funds stolen from 1MDB.
Among the list of items to be seized are a yacht, diamond jewellery, fitness chain and artworks.
Najib has repeatedly denied abusing public funds for personal gain and has blamed such allegations on those conspiring to topple him from power. - Mkini

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