Malaysian democracy group to stage 1MDB protest, calling for PM to resign

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian democracy group Bersih said on Wednesday it would hold a protest rally calling for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak to allow an independent investigation into the financial scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said the rally would be held on Nov. 19. "Bersih believes not protesting is not an option. Malaysians must stand united and take a strong stand against this grand corruption and the failure of our institutions," Maria told reporters. More than 200,000 people marched through the streets in August 2015 in a similar rally organized by Bersih, which draws the bulk of its support from Malaysia's ethnic Chinese minority, calling for Najib's resignation. 1MDB is a state fund Najib founded in September 2009 to invest in strategic property and energy projects. Najib was the chairman of 1MDB's advisory board until recently. U.S. prosecutors filed civil lawsuits in July alleging that over $3.5 billion was defrauded from 1MDB. The Wall Street Journal has reported that global investigators believed more than $1 billion entered Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts, much of it from 1MDB. None of the information publicly disclosed about the 1MDB investigations across the world has shown any connection between alleged misappropriation of money linked to 1MDB and the prime minister. Najib has denied any wrongdoing. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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