17 April 2012
MALAYSIANS in 41 global cities and 14 countries will rally worldwide in solidarity with BERSIH 3.0’s Duduk Bantah, the sit-in protest calling for a comprehensive reform of Malaysia’s undemocratic electoral system.
Held under the auspices of Global Bersih, the worldwide rallies will be timed to coincide with BERSIH 2.0’s third call for fair and free elections, scheduled for 2pm at Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) in Kuala Lumpur on 28 April 2012.
Bersih – which means ‘clean’ – is a civil society movement based in KL and comprising 84 non-government organisations. Its sole cause since inception in 2006 is a thorough clean-up of the electoral system, encapsulated in 8 public demands that must be met before the coming 13th general election.
BERSIH 2.0 is also calling for Malaysia’s Election Commission (EC) leadership to resign, as the Commission has frustrated all efforts towards establishing a full and transparent review of the system.
The EC has also failed to take urgent remedial action where glaring irregularities in the system and electoral rolls have been pointed out.
As a result of these failures by the EC, BERSIH 2.0 is now pressing for international observers to help scrutinise the coming elections and report on events leading to, during and after this federal poll.
On 9 July last year, the movement’s BERSIH 2.0 cry for urgent electoral reform drew 50,000 supporters to Kuala Lumpur despite a nationwide government ban and violent crackdown on BERSIH’s leaders and Malaysian civil society, which saw over 1,600 men, women and children arrested by the police.
Global Bersih is the overseas Malaysians’ response to last year’s milestone in Malaysian civil activism, as Malaysians abroad rallied in 32 cities in the name of BERSIH 2.0.
Driving Bersih 3.0 is the growing people power of Malaysians at home and abroad who are demanding free and fair elections, underwritten by a democratic, corruption-free and transparent electoral system.
Bersih 3.0 is expected to draw thousands more Malaysians to rallies to be held in less than a fortnight at home and around the world.
With Dataran Merdeka as a central focus alongside BERSIH 2.0 rallies nationwide, Malaysians and their supporters will gather in cities such as Washington DC, New York, Tokyo, Beijing, Toronto, Paris, London, Seoul, Dubai, Zurich, all of Australia’s capital cities and many more.
Ambiga Sreenevasan, BERSIH 2.0’s co-chair and former President of the Malaysian Bar, said in Kuala Lumpur today: “The growing support for Bersih from across the world, from Malaysians and supporters of B’s cause, has touched all of us in KL. We are hearing of more cities coming onboard to rally every day.
“Although distance may separate us, we are one in upholding the cause of clean and fair elections.”
Yolanda Augustin, Global Bersih’s representative in England, sent this message: “On the 28th of April, 2012, the brave Malaysians at Dataran Merdeka must know they do not stand alone. Malaysians in England, Europe, all of Asia, the US, Canada, the Middle East, everywhere, stand by you in spirit and for the cause under which KL has united us all. The Malaysian government must understand that the Bersih movement will not cease till meaningful and sustainable democratic and electoral reforms are implemented.”
Said David Teoh, Global Bersih’s co-ordinator in Melbourne and spokesman for the group’s Australian chapter: “We call on all Malaysians overseas to come out in full force on 28.04 and we encourage more people to come forward and organise events in their city.
“Students should not be afraid to show their support for clean and fair elections, as it will make a world of difference to their families back home.”