KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's government reclaimed the streets
of the capital Monday after massive weekend protests demanding the premier's
ouster, staging its own show of force with colorful National Day celebrations
attended by thousands.
With Prime Minister Najib Razak presiding, the government
held a parade attended by large crowds of flag-waving spectators in scenes
broadcast live, symbolizing what reform advocates and analysts admit will be an
uphill task affecting change in the government.
Organizers of the weekend demonstrations said more than
200,000 people attended the rallies staged to demand Najib's removal over a
But the weekend rallies and Mahathir's support are not seen
as causing serious unease for Najib, who retains firm control of his powerful
His government in turn enjoys continued solid support among
the country's majority ethnic Malay population.
"The rallies showed (civil society and the opposition)
can turn out the numbers, but whether actions like this can really make a
difference is unclear," said Ibrahim Suffian, head of leading Malaysian
polling firm Merdeka Centre.
Najib can rest easy because the only way anyone could
remove him is through parliament or the ruling party. In a speech Sunday
night, Najib defiantly refused to step down and called the protesters
Rally participants in Kuala Lumpur seemed drawn mostly from
the country's ethnic Chinese minority, which makes up about a quarter of the
KOTA KINABALU, Sabah, Malaysia - There was a carnival air over the Likas Bay
Park beach here as hundreds of people streamed in for the Sabah Bersih event.
Amid sounds of native Kadazandusun gongs, the participants
walked several kilometres carrying the national and Sabah flags, with some
With police keeping a close eye on the ground, air and sea,
the participants, mainly comprising youths and Opposition leaders from the DAP
and PKR, seemed to enjoy the scenic view and sea breeze.
"We drove from Sandakan (300km from here) before
sunrise to make it here for the march," said an office manager who identified
herself only as Lim.
"I participated to show my support for Bersih. My boss
does not know I came," said the 38-year-old.
Speeches and entertainment continued till late evening but
many dispersed by 9pm.
Kota Kinabalu police chief Asst Comm M. Chandra said the
ring leaders would be summoned to give their statements for offences under the
Peaceful Assembly Act.
In Kuching, the police made no arrest, except seize several
banners. Kuching police chief ACP Roslan Bek Ahmad declared day one of the
gathering as "peaceful" with no complaints from the public.
"There were a few banners brought by gatherers that we
found inappropriate. We seized those but that's about it," ACP Roslan told
reporters yesterday evening.
About 1,000 plainclothes and uniformed officers were on duty
yesterday. Bersih 4 in Sarawak was the only assembly in Malaysia with council
and police permits.
The Song Kheng Hai rugby pitch (also the venue of July 22's
Sarawak for Sarawakians rally) turned into a sea of yellow - there were both
Bersih 4 shirts as well as the state's yellow, red and black flags.
They marched from four approved gathering sites - car parks
and hotel assembly points - alongside the police.
A dozen speakers featured, ranging from DAP and PKR members
to civil activists like former Radio Free Sarawak presenter Peter John Jaban
and his famous wife Karen Shepherd, who gained fame recently for slamming a state
As tens of thousands take to the streets of Kuala Lumpur at
the Bersih 4 rally today, thousands of others across the globe are doing the
same in their own way.
Bersih 4 supporters gather in Perth, Australia. – Global
Bersih Twitter pic, August 29, 2015.Bersih 4 supporters gather in Perth,
Global Bersih Twitter pic, August 29, 2015.
In Perth, Australia,
Malaysians have gathered since morning at Langley Park for their own Bersih 4
rally organised by Bersihkan Malaysia Perth and Malaysian Progressive
Demonstrators elsewhere around the world were also sharing
their Bersih 4 moments in their respective localities via the Global Bersih
group on Facebook and Twitter.
There were Bersih 4 demonstrators, whether in large and
small groups or as individuals, at the Freedom Square in Taipei, Taiwan;
Suzhou, China; Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand; Ontario, Canada;
Switzerland, France, Singapore, Mongolia, Qatar and even Timor Leste.
A group in yellow has also gathered at the University of
Washington in Seattle, United States in a photo seen on Twitter.
There was even a solidarity event underwater, as divers in
Bali posed for photos with a yellow Bersih 4 banner in the sea.
Back home, the 34-hour Bersih 4 rally is taking place in
Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Its goals are, among others, to demand
reforms in the election system, governance, freedom to protest, parliamentary
democracy and the economy.
The Malaysian Bar has urged Putrajaya to uphold the freedom
of information, following the state Internet regulator's move to restrict
access to websites that promote the Bersih 4 rally.
Its president, Steven Thiru, said the move was a misuse of
regulatory powers by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission
(MCMC) if it restricted access to websites that allegedly promote, spread
information, and encourage the public to participate in the rally.
He said this was because MCMC's decision was following an
earlier statement by the Home Affairs Ministry that “Bersih 4.0” was not a
"The stand taken by the ministry is misconceived.There is no event or entity known as 'Bersih
"Bersih 4 is an event. The organiser of Bersih 4 is the
entity known as Bersih 2.0, which the High Court – in the case of Datuk Ambiga
Sreenevasan and Ors against Menteri Dalam Negeri and Ors  7 CLJ 43 –
recognised as a society under section 2 of the Societies Act 1966.
"Accordingly, the decision made by the ministry in
relation to a non-existent event or an unknown entity (Bersih 4.0) is
unjustifiable," Thiru said in a statement today.
He said it would follow that the reliance placed by MCMC on
the "erroneous decision" of the ministry, was indefensible in law.
"It amounts to a misuse of the regulatory power reposed
in MCMC under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA).
"In any event, MCMC’s attempt to block access to websites
would go against section 3(3) of the CMA, which provides that 'nothing in this
Act shall be construed as permitting the censorship of the Internet', as well
as the MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees No. 7, which guarantees no censorship of
Thiru added that the decision by MCMC also contradicted the
statement by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said
Keruak on August 25 that the authority would not block access to any websites
or social media platforms during the Bersih 4 rally.
"It is disappointing that the government has chosen to
blow hot and cold in this matter," he said.
The 34-hour Bersih 4 rally begins today. It will be held in
Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and other major cities in the world. Tens
of thousands are expected to participate in the event.
The rally is held to call for electoral reform, a clean
government,strengthening democracy, the right to peaceful assembly and to save the economy.
BRUSSELS , Belgium - The European Union should increase the number of
warships patrolling the Mediterranean Sea and start searching and
diverting vessels suspected of smuggling migrants, an Italian admiral
told EU ambassadors on Thursday.
Many tens of thousands of people
have put to sea this year, mainly setting out from Libya and Turkey, in
the hope of reaching Europe. At least 2,300 are believed to have died
while trying to make the crossing, often in flimsy boats crammed
dangerously full by people-traffickers.
An EU military operation, launched in June, has so far focussed on gathering intelligence on the smugglers' activities.
Thursday the head of the mission, Admiral Enrico Credendino, proposed
to step up the operations, a close aide to EU foreign policy chief
Federica Mogherini said on Twitter.
"Admiral Credendino proposes to EU ambassadors to pass to phase 2 and act in high seas," Sabrina Bellosi tweeted.
second phase of the operation would allow EU military officials to
search and divert suspect vessels in international waters, but at this
stage warships would not venture into Libyan territorial waters, a EU
diplomat told Reuters.
To go there, EU vessels would need a
go-ahead from the United Nations or from the Libyan authorities, which
they cannot get at the moment because Libyan factions are struggling to
negotiate the formation of a unity government.
EU defence and foreign ministers will discuss whether to step up military operations at a meeting in Luxembourg next week.
green light is not guaranteed," the diplomat said, as the launch of
phase 2 would imply the commitment of new vessels, military personnel
and financial resources.
The stated objective of the EU military
operation is to "disrupt the business model of human smuggling and
trafficking networks in the Mediterranean," including by destroying the
boats used to carry the migrants while still anchored in Libya.
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - All websites that promote, spread information
and encourage the public to join the Bersih 4 rally will be blocked by the
Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
The commission is calling for the public to report such
websites or social media accounts spreading content that could harm the
nation’s stability, public order and economic stability.
In response, Bersih 2.0 has threatened to sue the Malaysian
Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) unless it withdraws a ban on
websites that spread information on the Bersih 4.0 rally.
The Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah (pic) said that
MCMC’s decision was quite shocking and against constitutional rights.
“It’s against the right to information, and he we are
talking about implementing the right of information act,” she said adding that
MCMC’s purpose was to ensure freer flow of information.
Maria said that the organisers of the rally depended on
social media and the internet for security, crowd control and to counter
“We really depend on the internet for our dissemination of
information. To stop that is going to cause inconvenience for us.
“We are going to sue them if they do not withdraw…It is
really against the rakyat’s right to information. They have no right to block
it,” she said.
MONETA, Va, U.S.A. — A television reporter and cameraman
were shot to death on live television Wednesday in Virginia by a gunman
authorities described as a disgruntled station employee. A second video of the
shooting, apparently recorded by the killer, was posted on social media even as
police tried to locate the suspect.
Reporter Alison Parker was interviewing an economic
development official about local tourism as eight shots rang out. She screamed,
ran and could be heard saying "Oh my God," as she too was shot. Adam
Ward's camera captured a fleeting image, including the face, of a man holding a
WDBJ quickly switched back to a shot of the anchor back at
the station, her eyes large and jaw dropping as she said, "OK, not sure
what happened there. We will of course let you know as soon as we find out what
those sounds were from."
Law enforcement confronted Vester Flanagan on Interstate 66 and Flanagan
shot himself, officials tell CNN.
Former deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has
received an invitation to attend the Bersih rally this weekend.
Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB) Youth delivered the invitation at
Muhyiddin's house in Bukit Damansara, here, at 11.30am on Wednesday. According to GHB Youth, as of now, Muhyiddin is the only
Umno leader given an official invitation.
Despite being declared illegal, Organisers said that the
Bersih 4.0 overnight rally will take place on Aug 29 and 30.
On Tuesday, the police said that the rally was illegal as
the organisers have "failed to issue a complete notice to the
The complete notice, which included a detailed plan of the
routes and venues that would be used, would allow police to facilitate the
According to the police, the organisers failed to submit the
notice after the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) rejected their applications to
use Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok as venues.
Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainol Samah said after a meeting
with Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah that the organisers have not adhered
to existing laws requiring them to get the permission for the use of Dataran
However, according to Maria, the Police "had understood" that the protesters will not enter the Dataran Merdeka.
Political parties and their supporters swung into action
yesterday, after President Tony Tan Keng Yam dissolved Parliament and news
followed that the general election would be held on Sept 11.
At People's Action Party (PAP) branches and opposition party
offices across the island, activists finalised their candidate line-ups and
worked to ensure that campaign flags, posters and, especially, nomination
papers would be in order.
Nomination Day will be next Tuesday, Sept 1, with the
minimum of nine days to campaign before Cooling-off Day on Sept 10. Polling Day
will be a public holiday.
It is the first time since 1997 that a general election will
be held on a weekday. Some PAP activists said holding the polls on Sept 12
would have clashed with community events planned for the last day of the
Chinese Seventh Month.
Opposition parties have resolved remaining differences and
are set to go into straight fights with the ruling People's Action Party (PAP)
at the next general election.
This follows announcements yesterday by the National
Solidarity Party (NSP) and Singaporeans First party (SingFirst) to withdraw
from areas other opposition parties have also staked claims to.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - The ringgit shed nine sen against the US
dollar Monday morning, its biggest single day drop in the current down cycle. The
ringgit was trading at 4.2430 to the US dollar, which was another fresh low
The fall in the ringgit puts heavy pressure on Bursa
Malaysia, with the key FBM KLCI down more than 27 points in early Monday trade
while the ringgit weakened further against the US dollar.
At 9.08am, the FBM KLCI was down 27.18 points or 1.73% to
1,547.49.Turnover was nearly 200
million shares valued at RM79.52mil. Losers beat gainers 432 to 38 while 90
stocks were unchanged.
Bloomberg reported Asian stocks slid to a two-year low as
the selloff that has spread to almost every corner of the global equity market
intensified, spurring demand for haven assets.
JF Apex Research said following the bearish sentiment in the
US and Europe, "we expect the KLCI to be negative today and likely to test
its support of 1,545".
BIMB Securities Research data showed foreign funds were net
sellers of Malaysian equities at -RM1.349bil in the week ended Aug 21 and on
the last day of the week they were net sellers at –RM375mil. Local institutions
were net buyers at RM1.340bil in the week and RM363.5mil on Friday.
At Bursa Malaysia, banks were under pressure, with Public
Bank down 38 sen to RM17.32 and Maybank losing 22 sen to RM8.37.
Petronas Gas fell 38 sen to RM17.32, KL Kepong 30 sen to RM
20 while Amway was down 20 sen to RM10 and MPI 19 sen to RM6.30. AirAsia fell one sen to 96 sen in active trade. MISC was up
16 sen to RM8.15.
LONDON, U.K. - Almost
80,000 people had by Monday signed a petition urging the arrest of Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes when he visits London next
The petition was launched earlier this month by British
citizen Damian Moran and is posted on the government's website.
"Under international law he (Netanyahu) should be
arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000
civilians in 2014," Moran said, referring to the 51-day offensive by Israeli
forces in Gaza last year.
If the number of signatories reaches 100,000, the petition
can be considered for debate in Britain's parliament.
But Moran told media he doubted it would reach the chamber
given the close relationship between Israel and Britain.
The British government was obliged to respond after the
document received 10,000 signatories, saying that "visiting heads of
foreign governments, such as prime minister Netanyahu, have immunity from legal
process, and cannot be arrested or detained".
"We recognise that the conflict in Gaza last year took
a terrible toll," it added.
"As the prime minister (David Cameron) said, we were
all deeply saddened by the violence and the UK has been at the forefront of
international reconstruction efforts.
"However the prime minister was clear on the UK's
recognition of Israel's right to take proportionate action to defend itself,
within the boundaries of international humanitarian law."
Britain is pushing for a two-state solution to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and "will reinforce this message to Mr
Netanyahu during his visit" in September, according to the response.
Any British citizen can launch a petition on the
government's website, asking for a specific action from the government or parliament's
lower House of Commons.
Only British citizens are meant to sign the petitions, but
need only enter a name, email address and valid postcode.
Israel launched military action in the Hamas-ruled Gaza
Strip on July 8 last year, leading to the deaths of more than 2,000
Palestinians and 66 Israeli soldiers.
Pro-Palestinian British lawyers unsuccessfully tried to
arrest former Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni following the 2008-2009 Gaza
Israel's embassy in London called the latest petition a
"meaningless publicity stunt".