Late last month, Malaysians at home and abroad participated in extended public demonstrations. Protesters were calling for government and economic reform, clean elections, the right to public protest and the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
While huge crowds turned out worldwide, most media outlets outside Malaysia did not cover the rallies.
Organizers estimate that 500,000 people joined Bersih 4 protests in Malaysia. The local turnout alone is incredible given that freedom of assembly there is not a protected right. An additional 10,000 people attended solidarity rallies in more than 70 cities worldwide,including 11 major cities in the United States. “Bersih,” the rallying cry of these demonstrations, means “clean” in Malay.
From ‘tiger’ to scandal
Concerns over civil liberties, political transparency, and economic stability are often linked in Malaysia. The country was formerly one of Asia’s “tiger economies.” In the early 2000s, it was the United States’ 10th largest…
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