An Evening with Aliran with 1MDB on everyone’s minds

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An Evening with Aliran 2016 was held on 23 July 2016 in the KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall with the theme Justice, Freedom, Solidarity.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

It was an engaging, even exhilarating evening that mixed serious political discussion with exciting entertainment. More than 500 people turned up.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, former Bersih co-chairperson, former chairperson of the Malaysian Bar Council, and now president of human rights organisation Hakam, was the guest-of-honour.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

Her speech that evening focused on the 1MDB financial scandal, a problem that has been unfolding for almost two years. Just a week before the evening, the US Department of Justice had moved to seize all assets in the US belonging to certain persons and companies associated with 1MDB who had allegedly broken US financial laws in financial transactions to, in their words, “defraud Malaysia”.

Having gone through the 126-page Department of Justice report with a fine tooth comb, the legal expert Ambiga shared with the those present the contents and its legal implications in simple layperson’s terms. For an idea of her engaging style connecting to ordinary people, check out this two-minute video clip:

Earlier that evening, Aliran president Dr Francis Loh delivered a welcome speech. He shared his insights on why Malaysian politics was still lagging behind the Malaysian economy and society, which had witnessed so much transformation in past. For Francis, it is Umno, which had accumulated wide corporate interests and evolved into a widespread patrimonial system that is at the core of this lag.

READ MORE:  Swiss lawmakers say Malaysian government never claimed confiscated 1MDB profits

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

The domination of Umno-BN for almost 60 years had also allowed it to penetrate and ‘capture’ the government machinery ranging from the judicial system to the security and law-and-order apparatus to the educational system, etc. Read Francis’ speech here.

The highlight of the evening was surely the performance of the Aliran Singers. They had written new lyrics to well-known and popular tunes.

The opening number, tongue-in-cheek, talked of this party which would protect its members who were busy looking for funds and donations from all over.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

It was followed by a second number Where has all the Money Gone? to the same tune of almost the same question made popular by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Yet another number, Return to Saudi, sung to Elvis’ Return to Sender, poked fun at the prime minister’s claim that he had received a donation from some Saudi prince and that he had sent the money back…

Look at these photographs capturing the performances and the guests that evening.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

We thank our guest artistes: the Azmyl Yunor and Orkes Padu Project…

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

Pak Samad (who read out a few poems), guitarist Az Samad…

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

… and the Jabar Laura and Company dance troupe.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

We also record our heartfelt appreciation to our KL organising team and the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the evening a success and to cartoonist Zunar for gracing the occasion.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

Finally, Aliran thanks all of you for attending this event and donating generously.

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

No doubt, we have raised enough funds to be around for at least another one to two more years. See you at our next fundraiser!

READ MORE:  1MDB dragnet draws even closer with seizure of Jho Low's superyacht

Aliran fundraising dinner 2016

Thanks for dropping by! Apart from the views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed, the opinions in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation of whatever amount you can afford to sustain Aliran. Please make payments to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.

And why not become an Aliran member or subscribe to our FREE newsletters.

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