Students rally for arrest of “Malaysia Official 1” in 1MDB case

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Malaysia 1MDB student protestStudent protesters marched in Kuala Lumpur on August 27 and called for the arrest of an unnamed high-ranking government official dubbed “Malaysian Official 1” by US investigators who say that this person received some $700 million skimmed from from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The rally with around 1,000 protesters comes more than a month after US prosecutors filed civil lawsuits alleging that over $3.5 billion was defrauded  from 1MDB.

The “Malaysian Official 1” who received some of the misappropriated funds is widely believed to be nobody other than the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has, for his turn, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and whose aides defamed the rally participants as “school children.”

Led by student representative Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, the protesters marched towards Independence Square, shouting “the people live” and “catch MO1,” referring to “Malaysian Official 1” in the lawsuits.

“If we don’t speak out, who else will push them, the authorities, to arrest a criminal who has given us so much grief?,” Anis said in her address to the protesters.

“Can we send the MO1 to jail and bring that person to face justice?” she asked the crowd, which responded with chants of “tangkap MO1,” meaning “arrest” in Malay.

Police set up barricades around the square and blocked the crowd from entering. About 800 policemen and officials from the Kuala Lumpur city hall were on patrol near the square, The Sun reported.

However, the rally ended peacefully after nearly three hours, with student leaders placing the effigies of Najib, his wife, Rosmah Mansor, his stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz and businessman Low Taek Jho into a mock prison. Riza and Low, who are close to Najib’s family, were named in the US filings.

While Najib has managed to fend off most of the accusations against him domestically due to a weak opposition and by sacking many of his critics within the government, the US filings in the 1MDB case are by far the biggest threat to his credibility that could reinvigorate the opposition.

Malaysia’s attorney general has also been defensive of Najib, saying he has not been named a defendant in the US report. He had already cleared Najib of criminal wrongdoing in January, saying $681 million found in his bank accounts were a donation from the Saudi royal family and not from 1MDB, with most of it returned, but he did not present any proof.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Student protesters marched in Kuala Lumpur on August 27 and called for the arrest of an unnamed high-ranking government official dubbed “Malaysian Official 1” by US investigators who say that this person received some $700 million skimmed from from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia 1MDB student protestStudent protesters marched in Kuala Lumpur on August 27 and called for the arrest of an unnamed high-ranking government official dubbed “Malaysian Official 1” by US investigators who say that this person received some $700 million skimmed from from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The rally with around 1,000 protesters comes more than a month after US prosecutors filed civil lawsuits alleging that over $3.5 billion was defrauded  from 1MDB.

The “Malaysian Official 1” who received some of the misappropriated funds is widely believed to be nobody other than the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has, for his turn, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and whose aides defamed the rally participants as “school children.”

Led by student representative Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, the protesters marched towards Independence Square, shouting “the people live” and “catch MO1,” referring to “Malaysian Official 1” in the lawsuits.

“If we don’t speak out, who else will push them, the authorities, to arrest a criminal who has given us so much grief?,” Anis said in her address to the protesters.

“Can we send the MO1 to jail and bring that person to face justice?” she asked the crowd, which responded with chants of “tangkap MO1,” meaning “arrest” in Malay.

Police set up barricades around the square and blocked the crowd from entering. About 800 policemen and officials from the Kuala Lumpur city hall were on patrol near the square, The Sun reported.

However, the rally ended peacefully after nearly three hours, with student leaders placing the effigies of Najib, his wife, Rosmah Mansor, his stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz and businessman Low Taek Jho into a mock prison. Riza and Low, who are close to Najib’s family, were named in the US filings.

While Najib has managed to fend off most of the accusations against him domestically due to a weak opposition and by sacking many of his critics within the government, the US filings in the 1MDB case are by far the biggest threat to his credibility that could reinvigorate the opposition.

Malaysia’s attorney general has also been defensive of Najib, saying he has not been named a defendant in the US report. He had already cleared Najib of criminal wrongdoing in January, saying $681 million found in his bank accounts were a donation from the Saudi royal family and not from 1MDB, with most of it returned, but he did not present any proof.

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