What does ‘Bersih’ mean?
Bersih means ‘clean’ in Bahasa Malaysia, the national language of Malaysia. The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections in Malaysia is known as Bersih 2.0. Almost a hundred Malaysian NGOs are endorsers of Bersih 2.0.
What is Global Bersih?
Global Bersih is the international network and international advocacy arm of Bersih 2.0. The organization is registered in Geneva as a non-profit association.
At the heart of Global Bersih is our international network of volunteers – (former) Malaysians and friends of Malaysia who support the movement’s vision and goals. The work of Global Bersih is overseen by a Steering Committee, who are assisted by a secretariat for day-to-day operations. In each Global Bersih location, city coordinators organize meetings and gatherings, providing avenues for all friends of Malaysia to support the Global Bersih cause.
What does Global Bersih do?
Global Bersih’s international advocacy efforts focus on electoral reform, human rights and strengthening institutions, as means to a more mature democracy in Malaysia. Global Bersih’s network provides a platform for all who share our vision for a more democratic Malaysia to work together towards that goal, in the Malaysian spirit of gotong-royong.
How did Global Bersih start?
In 2011, arrests and threats of police crackdown prior to the Bersih 2.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur sparked solidarity rallies in more than 30 cities around the world. A similar rally in 2012 saw Malaysians and friends of Malaysia gathering in 85 cities in support of Bersih 2.0’s demands for electoral, institutional and political reform. The spontaneous outpouring of worldwide support for this common cause in Malaysia is the essence of the Global Bersih movement and led subsequently to the setting up of a more formal organizational structure.
How is Global Bersih funded?
Global Bersih relies on donations and fundraising events to raise funds. Like Bersih 2.0, Global Bersih has no partisan alignment and does not receive funding from any political party.
What has Bersih 2.0 achieved?
The Bersih 2.0 rally on 9 July 2011 was historic not only because an estimated 50,000 people defied a government ban to rally, following which the police cracked down on and arrested peaceful demonstrators.
For the first time in Malaysia’s recent history, citizens of all ages, creeds, colours, walks of life and political persuasions rallied behind a common cause – one vote for every Malaysian in fair and free elections, and thereby their ability to have a real say in the direction of their country, and to hold the government to account for all their actions.
In Bersih 2.0, Malaysian civil society has come together in an unprecedented way, and found a strong and credible collective voice. Independent of partisan influences and short-term political considerations, Bersih 2.0 is able to act as a balancing force, with a long-term, bottom-up, principles-based vision for Malaysia.
Bersih 2.0 has awakened Malaysians to people power, but we have a long road ahead of us before Malaysia becomes the democracy we desire. Join Global Bersih today and be part of Malaysian history.