KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 ― Bersih 2.0 will announce today the Bersih 5 rally after the police gave approval on condition that it abide by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
The fifth installment of the electoral reform group’s street protests is being organised to press for action on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case after the US government filed a lawsuit over assets linked to the state investment firm.
Malay Mail Online understands that Bersih 2.0 will organise a series of rallies, starting tentatively in a week or so, before the main Bersih 5 street demonstration planned for October.
“No tentative date. Plan is to have it in October, with a series of rallies every two weeks at least leading up to it,” a source from Bersih 2.0 told Malay Mail Online.
According to the source, the rallies would be held at various locations, including at “all institutions which have been directly or indirectly involved” in the US Department of Justice’s civil filing that seeks to seize over US$1 billion (RM4 billion) in assets allegedly obtained using funds embezzled from 1MDB.
The series of rallies will, among others, call for action on alleged corruption linked to the state investment fund.
Bersih 2.0 has scheduled a press conference this afternoon to make an “important announcement”.
The Bersih rallies trace back to 2007 and have eventful records. The first three saw clashes between police and protesters, although the last in August 2015 took place during the weekend in the city without any violence.
Opposition parties have also expressed interest to join the Bersih 5 rally, which if held in October, will occur about a year after the marathon Bersih 4 where protesters flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur for 34 hours.
Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Jamal Yunos said last month that if Bersih 2.0 goes ahead with its rally, the infamous Red Shirt movement will hold a counter rally in the same place.
Jamal, who was the face of the unruly Red Shirt rally on September 16 last year, warned that over 30,000 people would paint Kuala Lumpur red if Bersih went ahead with its rally.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has told both Bersih 2.0 and the Red Shirts to adhere to the law and to notify the police in advance if they want to go ahead with the rallies.
The police chief went on to specifically warn Bersih 2.0 that its rally would be illegal if it was aimed at demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The US Department of Justice said the 1MDB-related lawsuit filed last month was the largest case ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
US prosecutors said more than US$3.5 billion (RM14.23 billion) in 1MDB funds were allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of the local state investment firm and their associates between 2009 and 2015.
The funds allegedly embezzled and laundered into the US were purportedly used to buy luxury properties in New York, Los Angeles and London, paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, a US$35 million jet, as well as to pay for gambling debts in Las Vegas.