'Arrest Najib' rally: Two opposition assemblymen held

Simpang Pulai assemblyman Tan Kar Hing (in white) and Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang (behind Mr Tan) being led away by police at a rally at the Sogo shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Simpang Pulai assemblyman Tan Kar Hing (in white) and Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang (behind Mr Tan) being led away by police at a rally at the Sogo shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.ST PHOTO: SHANNON TEOH

A demonstration calling for the arrest of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak over graft allegations fizzled out in under an hour yesterday after police arrested at least 29 protesters, including two opposition state assemblymen.

This came as police said they arrested three people early yesterday morning to assist in a probe into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the troubled state investor linked to money allegedly received by Datuk Seri Najib. The three who were arrested are an ex-Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) adviser, an officer from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), and a deputy public prosecutor seconded to the anti-graft agency.

Despite police declaring the gathering organised by student activists illegal and arresting four of the organisers since Friday, nearly 100 still gathered at popular Kuala Lumpur mall Sogo yesterday.

Those chanting "Tangkap Najib (arrest Najib)" and "Hidup Rakyat (long live the people)" and throwing fireworks were quickly hauled away by police, including at least two elderly protesters.

The student activists had announced plans to gather to call for the arrest of Mr Najib, who was accused by The Wall Street Journal on July 3 of receiving US$700 million (S$952 million) linked to debt-laden 1MDB in his personal accounts over the past two years. Mr Najib has denied using state funds for personal gain, but has not made clear whether he received the money.

The arrest of the three people early yesterday came after five others were detained last week in relation to the 1MDB case.

Those in the latest arrests are the first people to be detained who are from agencies that are part of a high-level task force - which includes the AGC, MACC, police and central bank - investigating the finance ministry-owned 1MDB.

Shannon Teoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2015, with the headline ''Arrest Najib' rally: Two opposition assemblymen held'. Print Edition | Subscribe