Your struggles have borne fruit, ex-Bersih leaders tell Malaysians

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Jailing Najib and Rosmah would not have been possible if Malaysians did not unite to fight against corruption since 2015, and took to the streets for their beloved country.

The struggle against graft by Malaysians who took to the streets in the Bersih rallies has borne fruit in the conviction and sentencing of former premier Najib Abdul Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, former leaders of electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 said.

Former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, former secretariat manager Mandeep Singh, as well as steering committee members Toh Kin Woon and Jay Jay Denis, also thanked Malaysians for taking to the streets to protest despite the various threats and challenges lobbed against them by the then government.

In a joint statement, they also stressed the importance of voting, which facilitated the change in government, which in turn enabled the prosecution and sentencing of the duo.

“August 23 and Sept 1, 2022, will be noted in the country’s history forever, as they are the result of the collective fight of Malaysians on August 29 and 30, 2015 (Bersih 4 rally), to protest against the abuse of power and corruption committed by former prime minister Najib and his wife Rosmah.

“In the last week, we have seen these two individuals being jailed and fined for stealing the country’s money. This would not have been possible if Malaysians did not unite to fight against corruption since 2015, and took to the streets for their beloved country. We cannot possibly personally thank all 500,000 of you, but you know who you are, although seven years have passed,” they said.

It is worth noting that on the eve of the Bersih 5 rally in 2016, the authorities raided the Bersih 2.0 office and detained Maria under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, for 10 days without trial. Mandeep, meanwhile, was held for three days.

Maria sued the government over her detention and in 2019, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered the government to pay her RM25,000 in damages, after ruling that her detention was unlawful.

Despite the challenges faced during the Bersih 4 rally in 2015, thousands of Malaysians again flooded the streets for the Bersih 5 rally on Nov 19, 2016, to demand, among others, clean elections, a clean government, and the right to dissent.

“The struggles of Malaysians bore fruit on May 9, 2018, when almost 12.3 million Malaysians voted to save the country from kleptocrats and thieves.

“We would like to thank Malaysians for all their support, sacrifices, and dedication in fighting for justice and a brighter tomorrow,” the statement said.

On August 23, Najib was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million after he was convicted on seven charges brought against him for abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

Rosmah, meanwhile, was sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined a record RM970 million after being found guilty of corruption in connection with the RM1.25 billion Sarawak rural schools’ solar energy project.

The court, however, granted a stay on her jail sentence pending her appeal to the Court of Appeal. – Malaysiakini