170,000 ‘like’ Facebook page urging Malaysia PM to go

(AFP) – KUALA LUMPUR – A FACEBOOK petition has seen more than 170,000 people back a call for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to quit, days after an electoral reform rally was broken up by police firing tear gas.

The page titled ‘100,000 People Request Najib Tun Razak Resignation’ was set up on Saturday, the same day police arrested more than 1,600 people during the mass protest in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Backed by opposition parties, electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 mobilised thousands of people to hit the streets in the biggest rally in four years, piling the pressure on Mr Najib with elections widely expected next year.

Following the demonstration, the page attracted around 300 ‘likes’ per minute, hitting its 100,000 target early Monday and the number has been steadily increasing with the page showing 172,868 ‘likes’ on Wednesday morning.

‘I don’t understand why the harshness, the beatings (by police) and the tear gas,’ according to a post by supporter Sofie Muhammad on the page. ‘The crowd didn’t even throw stones at the shops, why is the government afraid? All we want is free elections.’ Others felt the prime minister was too far removed from what was happening on the ground.

‘Najib is out of touch. He cannot understand pain of tear gas, irritation of chemical water, pain of being kicked and beaten up by (police),’ said Longyao Phang in another posting.