Town Hall by Ex-Malaysian Leader Mahathir Marred by Violence — Opposition Blames PM Najib for “Gangsterism”

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A town hall meeting with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who now heads an opposition coalition, was marred by violence Sunday, with several people hurling flares, chairs and shoes at the stage.

The 92-year-old Mahathir, who has set up a new political party to try to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak in elections due by mid-2018, was answering questions at the forum, hosted by his party, when chaos erupted. Shoes, water bottles and chairs were flung at the stage before two flares were ignited, filling the hall with smoke and turning it bright pink.

Mahathir was safely escorted out of the hall. Forum organizer Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said several people were injured but couldn’t give details on the exact number or their condition.

Police said three people, ranging in age from 17 to 19, were detained.

Syed Saddiq slammed the disruption as “sabotage,” saying officials from Mahathir’s Bersatu party had earlier noticed a group of youths wearing T-shirts with fake logos of Bersatu’s youth wing.

Opposition lawmaker Azmin Ali said: “Najib is using gangsterism to shut Mahathir’s mouth. It’s a cowardly act.”

There was no immediate comment from the government.

While it was unclear who was behind the fracas, it highlights that Mahathir — Malaysia’s prime minister for 22 years before stepping down in 2003 — is seen as a political threat.

Mahathir has been spearheading calls for Najib to resign over a multibillion-dollar financial scandal in indebted state fund 1MDB, which is being investigated in several countries for money laundering. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Mahathir came out of retirement to set up Bersatu last year and was recently appointed chairman of a fractured opposition coalition.

Earlier at Sunday’s forum, which was dubbed “Nothing to Hide” and was attended by more than 1,000 people, Mahathir said Najib is unfit to be prime minister, calling him a “liar and a thief” over the 1MDB scandal.

Mahathir said the four-party coalition he heads has set aside differences to focus on ousting Najib. “We are united and our focus is clear: to oust Najib and set up a new government,” he said.

Malaysia’s government has said it found no criminal wrongdoing at 1MDB. But the fund has been at the center of investigations in the U.S. and other countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme. Najib started the fund shortly after taking office in 2009 to promote economic development projects, but it accumulated billions of dollars in debt.

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Malaysia — Troublemakers ignited two flare, threw chairs and flung shoes and slippers on to the stage when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was speaking. The fracas forced organisers to escor Dr Mahathir our of the venue. Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, August 13, 2017.

SEVERAL youths lit flares, threw shoes and chairs at Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad as he spoke at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum, creating pandemonium and panic in a Shah Alam hall this evening.

Bersatu security personnel detained two of the troublemakers at the event in the Selangor Youth and Culture Complex in Shah Alam.

The forum was organised by Bersatu Youth (Armada) as a platform for the former prime minister and Prime Minister Najib Razak to debate issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

At least five suspects were seen throwing chairs into the crowd after the flares were lit.

Dr Mahathir and moderator Azhar Harun, who were on stage, did not react when the commotion broke out but were quickly escorted out of the hall.

An aide told The Malaysian Insight that Dr Mahathir, his wife Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, Bersatu president Muhiyddin Yassin, former Kedah MB Mukhriz Mahathir, Perkasa vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, Bersatu youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and veteran DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang were not injured in the incident.

“All the VIPs were rushed out of the hall when the commotion broke out.”

The forum saw mostly members of Bersatu in attendance.

Dr Mahathir, who was formerly the Barisan Nasional chairman, alleged that Najib had led a band of “thieves” who robbed the country of RM42 billion.

“I challenged the prime minister to come. What is there to be scared of? You said you are innocent and if I can’t prove your guilt, then I am wrong. So why are you hiding?” he said.

Najib was invited to attend today’s forum but was at Masjid Tanah Umno division delegates conference at Sekolah Menengah Imtiaz Ulul Albab, Durian Daun, Masjid Tanah in Malacca today.

Dr Mahathir said Najib must be made accountable to investigations conducted worldwide.

“The stolen money was brought to the US, it went through banks and was also used to fund the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

“What is being done by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has to do with crimes committed in the US. Nothing can be hidden. The Department of Justice can obtain proof from bank letters.

“Everytime money moves, there’s a paper trail. We are not just speaking of amounts of RM10,000, which must be reported (to the central bank). RM1 billion is a lot of money. It can fit 1,000 lorries. We are talking about 42,000 lorries. This amount of money cannot be kept hidden,” he said.

In its civil cases, the DoJ alleged that between 2009 and 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

Last year, DoJ filed a civil asset forfeiture suit to seize more than US$1 billion in assets that were bought using funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

A year later in June, DoJ filed another suit to seize US$540 in assets, including a US$165 million yacht the Equanimity, owned by Jho Low, and rights to comedy movie ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ produced by Red Granite, a production house co-owned by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Najib.

The DoJ last week applied to stay its civil forfeiture suits on assets allegedly purchased using misappropriated 1MDB funds to facilitate ongoing criminal investigations by the US government.

“I don’t like it when the laws are blatantly broken. Laws are important and meant to maintain peace and order. The country will fall apart without the rule of law.

“The DoJ says the trail ends with Malaysian Official 1. Who is Malaysian Official 1. It’s easy. (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Abdul Rahman Dahlan says it’s Najib.

“I will never return to Umno. The Umno that was formed by Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn has been hijacked by Najib and now the whole party is ruined and does not continue Umno’s struggle which is for race, religion and the country.”

“Now they steal money to live in luxurious houses. I hope the people no longer give them another chance. We must destroy them. Don’t be afraid.” – August 13, 2017.

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/10719/

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One Response to “Town Hall by Ex-Malaysian Leader Mahathir Marred by Violence — Opposition Blames PM Najib for “Gangsterism””

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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