KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Clerics issued a fatwa against demonstrations Monday (May 7th), days after Prime Minister Najib Razak said a quashed election reform rally was being used to topple the government ahead of polls, AFP reported.
Tens of thousands defied a government ban and took to the streets on April 28th to demand clean elections, breaking through barricades and clashing with police, who fired tear gas and water cannons, arresting more than 500 people.
Najib is widely expected to set a June date for what is predicted to be a close battle between his ruling coalition and the opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim, but observers say polls may be pushed back over the rally fallout.
"They had the intention to take over Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square), not to gather for two or three hours but for two or three days or even longer, to show that the government cannot control the situation," he told the national news agency Bernama.
"They wanted to make Dataran Merdeka like the Tahrir Square in Egypt," he added.
Federal police chief Ismail Omar told The Star they had started an investigation to identify the mastermind behind the alleged overthrow attempt.