Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s speech to overseas Malaysians at a get-together in London last night was interrupted by repeated chants of “Bersih! Bersih!” from the floor.
The chanting started when Najib took the stage and it continued when he began his speech.
Based on footage uploaded to the Internet, after some 25 seconds into his speech, Najib was clearly annoyed by the chanting. He raised his right hand and told the protesters to stop it.
“Can you please stop it? Can you stop it, please?” he said, to an inaudible reply from the floor.
“I know, I know, but can you stop it? You can meet with me later, okay? Please, can you stop it?” Najib said, apparently trying to defuse the anger.
“I want to vote...Why you don’t allow me to vote...?” a participant shouted as the chanting continued.
“No, no, no, okay... all right, all right, you... no, no, you wait for me,” Najib responded.
“You have to respect... (inaudible),” the man replied.
The chanting died down soon after, allowing Najib to continue his speech.
The event dubbed ‘An Evening with the Prime Minister’ was organised by the Malaysian High Commission at the prestigious 02 Arena in the UK capital, which can accommodate about 2,000 people.
According to Malaysia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Zakaria Sulong, the event was to enable Malaysians in London to interact in an informal manner with the prime minister.
However, the lavish event also raises the question as to whether this was paid for with public funds.
The O2 Arena is well-known for the staging of pop concerts and prestigious events.
The building which features most uniquely on the European city’s skyline is one among the many venues chosen for the 2012 London Olympics. It was also on the itinerary for the late pop legend Michael Jackson’s final tour which never took place.