EC Must Address Overseas Voter Registration Urgently
Global Bersih and MyOverseasVote (MOV) emphasises the need for the Election Commission (EC) to provide voter registration facilities at overseas missions and publicise this move without further delay as the next general elections loom.
Over 1 million Malaysians living abroad should not be denied such access to registration facilities as it is part of their right to vote as citizens.
A combined effort by Global Bersih and MOV to survey consulates, embassies and high commissions across the globe has shown that only the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore offers assistance for voter registration at the current time, as reported in Malaysiakini on 29 September 2016.
The survey has shown that Malaysians across the world have been told to literally go home and register with the EC. In some cases, missions themselves were uncertain about whether registration is at all possible. Elsewhere, enquiries have remained unanswered.
Global Bersih and MOV stress that Voter registration should be a core function of overseas missions. The EC need only appoint Assistant Registrar Officers at these missions and publicise the appointments as soon as possible.
Global Bersih and MOV jointly call on the Election Commission to address all these matters urgently, and to properly facilitate registration of voters everywhere, including post offices at home.
No Risk of Travel Ban If Malaysians Plan To Attend Bersih 5 Solidarity Rallies
Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan stated that there is no risk of travel ban if Malaysians living overseas plan to attend the Bersih 5 solidarity rallies scheduled for 19 November 2016 in their respective cities.
Nur Jazlan said “it is wrong” when asked to respond to the news report by the New Zeland Herald which stated that Malaysians who plan to attend the Bersih 5 solidarity rallies in Auckland risk being barred from travelling for three years upon their return.
Bersih Chairperson Maria Chin Receives Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award
The 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee has chosen BERSIH 2.0 as the co-recipient of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights and presented the award to Bersih 2.0 on 19 October 2016 in Kuala Lumpur.
The award had to be presented to Maria Chin in Kuala Lumpur given that she was prevented from leaving the country to receive the award in South Korea in April 2016.
The 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee notes that Bersih 2.0 has been an example of strength for the country in the face of mounting challenges from the state.
The Committee further states that Bersih 2.0 has given vibrancy to electoral reform and made it a national agenda for change with its eight demands. Bersih 2.0 has brought the people together on the streets to unite for a common cause – free and fair elections.
The Committee also notes the important contribution made by Global Bersih to Bersih 2.0.
The Committee states that the decision to choose Bersih 2.0 to be the co-recepient of the award will deepen solidarity and cooperation in the Asian region and give them a great opportunity to promote human rights and peace.
Bersih Rejects Election Commission’s Claim of Fair Elections
BERSIH 2.0 rejects and denies a statement made by Election Commission (EC) chairperson, Mohd Hashim Abdullah, in an opinion piece published in Mingguan Malaysia on 28 October 2016, claiming that Malaysia’s elections are fair.
Bersih 2.0 states that “Malaysian citizens themselves have expressed concerns over unfair and fraudulent elections in GE13, which led BERSIH 2.0 to set up the People’s Tribunal to investigate and examine their claims.”
Bersih 2.0 notes that supported by 30-strong legal team, the tribunal gathered evidence and witness statements from public hearings held nationwide, which included allegations of manipulation, excess expenditure, bribery, rigging and other electoral irregularities.
Bersih 2.0 questions the Election Commission’s claim of fair elections given the allegations of electoral irregularities, 1MDB scandal, and unfair redelineation exercises.
Minister Plans to Blacklist Companies Financing Bersih 2.0
Acting on Utusan Malaysia’s proposition to blacklist companies sponsoring the Bersih movement, Minister Rahman Dahlan has said that he would direct the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and the Public-Private Partnership Unit (Ukas) to conduct background checks on companies that seek government contracts through these agencies.
Bersih 2.0 states that the Minsiter’s plan is a blatant abuse of power and it shows that ministers have lost their sense of proportion in the freedoms laid out in the Constitution and their roles and responsibilities to the citizens of Malaysia.
Bersih 2.0 urges that Malaysians continue to support the fight for free and fair elections and not let the Minister’s plan deter the movement from demanding for institutional reforms, good governance and accountability.
Bersih 2.0 Chairperson, Manager and Former Chairperson Received Death Threats
BERSIH 2.0 chairperson, Maria Chin Abdullah, received a WhatsApp death threat on 18 October 2016 against her, her family, Ambiga Sreenevasan and Mandeep Singh allegedly signed off as Islamic State Malaysia.
BERSIH 2.0 condemns these offensive and violent acts as an appalling and deplorable affront to parliamentary democracy and calls for the arrest of the perpetrators.
Bersih 20 notes that if the police can hunt down netizens who are deemed a threat for uploading so-called damaging images and statements, they can track these criminals down.
Bersih 2.0 emphasises that the threat of IS violence is even more serious and expects these criminals to be brought to justice.
Bersih Chairperson Lodges Police Report after Red Paint Splashed on Son’s Car
Acts of violence and hooliganism continue to be committed against BERSIH 2.0 chairperson, Maria Chin and her family.
It was reported that on 20 October 2016 at 2.56am, thugs splashed one of Maria’s son’s car with red paint. She was alerted to this incident by a phone call from her sister and the perpetrators were heard running away.
Bersih 2.0 condemns the deplorable act against Maria Chin and her family and stated that this acts is an act of political intimidation and violence against not only Maria and her family but against the people’s movement, Bersih 2.0.
Bersih 2.0 notes that this act of political intimidation and violence is meant to stop the Bersih convoy and rally, which have been effective in spreading Bersih’s message for institutional reforms. A police report in relation to the incident was lodged on 20 October 2016.
Bersih 5 to Be Held at Dataran Merdeka
When asked on the gathering point for the Bersih 5 rally scheduled for 19 November 2016, Bersih Chairperson Maria Chin confirmed that the rally will be held at Dataran Merdeka.
More details of the Bersih 5 rally will be announced soon.
Bersih 5 Solidarity Rallies
As of today, 43 cities around the world have signed up for the Bersih 5 solidarity rallies. If you don’t see your city on the list of participating cities (http://www.globalbersih.org/list-of-participating-cities/), email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with a guide to starting a Bersih 5 chapter in your city.
Maria Chin Released on Bail
On 29 October 2016, Bersih chairperson Maria Chin was arrested in Kota Marudu for distributing leaflets promoting the Bersih 5 rally at about 1.45pm.
Maria Chin was taken to the Kota Marudu police station and questioned under section 11 of the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984. She was subsequently released on bail at about 4.15pm.