Wednesday December 19, 2018
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Protest against Malaysian PM enters second day

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian civilians protest against Prime Minister Najib Razak has entered its second day. The protesters are demanding his resignation over a financial scandal and are also demanding a constitutional reform.

credits bbc

The protests, organised by civil rights group Bersih, started on Saturday morning in three Malaysian cities — Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.

Authorities estimated the crowd size on Saturday at around 29,000 people, but Bersih organisers said 200,000 took part, Channel News Asia reported.

Protestors said they would continue to occupy the streets until just before midnight.

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad made a surprise appearance late Saturday, urging the cheering protestors to “carry on”. He has backed calls for Najib to quit.

Najib is accused of siphoning $700 million from a sovereign wealth fund into his personal accounts. The prime minister has denied the claims.

The rally has been declared illegal by Najib’s government and the police.

“Those who wear this yellow attire… want to discredit our good name, scribble black coal on Malaysia’s face to the outside world,” state-run news agency Bernama quoted the prime minister as saying.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Gets Reinstated

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget

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Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on during a parliament session in Colombo, Dec. 12, 2018. On Sunday he was reinstated as prime minister, ending a political crisis.

Sri Lanka’s sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated Sunday, his party said, ending a 51-day crisis that had paralyzed the island nation and pushed it toward debt default.

The 69-year-old leader was sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena, who sacked him Oct. 26 and triggered a power struggle that brought the country’s government to a standstill.

Wickremesinghe had refused to step aside since being sacked and replaced by former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Power struggle won

Sri Lanka had drifted without a functioning government for nearly two months as the rival factions jostled for power in parliament and the courts.

Sri Lanka, Parliament, Prime minister
Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo. VOA

Sirisena had vowed to never reappoint Wickremesinghe, who he publicly castigated in speeches in recent weeks, as prime minister under his watch.

The acrimony between the two was underscored Sunday when Sirisena barred journalists from attending the swearing-in ceremony, leaving it to Wickremesinghe’s legislators to announce the appointment.

“We thank the citizens of the country who fought the illegal seizure of power and ensured that democracy was restored,” his United National Party of Sri Lanka posted on Twitter

President’s appointee failed

Rajapaksa, Sirisena’s appointee, was unable to govern, failing many times to muster a majority in parliament.

Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka’s disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa gestures as he arrives for a meeting with his supporting lawmakers at the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 29, 2018. VOA

He was defeated six times on the floor of the legislature before being forced to step down Saturday.

Sirisena suffered a huge setback when the highest court in the country ruled last week that he acted outside the constitution when he sacked parliament in early November.

The court also confirmed Friday that Rajapaksa and his purported Cabinet could not exercise the powers of the office they held.

Also Read: President’s Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional: Sri Lanka’s Court

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget, without which foreign debt servicing may not be possible.

Sri Lanka had been braced for a government shutdown as parliament failed to approve spending for 2019, and ratings agencies downgraded the country’s credit rating amid fears of a sovereign debt default. (VOA)