– Bong Chan Siong
The Malaysian Insider
21 August 2015
What Bersih wants? You know. I know. A lot of people know. So it is clear what Bersih wants.
Yes, Bersih wants a clean government. Bersih wants free and fair elections. Now, Bersih also wants to “save the economy”.
Why does Bersih want these? For the lack of vocabulary, #BetterNation heh.
And how to achieve these? The specifics of it? May I direct you to some of the recommendations made by Bersih.
Bersih’s 10 institutional reforms:
1. Electoral reform;
2. Making the Election Commission a constitutional party answerable to Parliament;
3. Barring the prime minister from simultaneously holding the office of finance minister;
4. Parliamentary reform;
5. Making MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) answerable to Parliament;
6. Separating the Attorney-General from the role of public prosecutor;
7. Freedom of information laws at the federal and state levels;
8. Public declaration of assets of ministers and senior government servants;
9. Repeal of or amendments to draconian laws; and,
10. Establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
If all these recommendations by Bersih are accepted and carried out, we should be able to achieve the two main “wants” mentioned earlier.
The third “want” is just an afterthought.
But how do we achieve all these recommendations? Through a rally? Heck, a rally is just a process.
A referendum of collective voices and opinions. To unite and organise people with shared objectives.
Really, a rally is one of the simplest means for common folks to voice out when every other avenue is either being closed down or being bullied into submission.
I don’t think people are so naive to think just through rallies we would be able to achieve all we want.
The “hows” to achieve all of the above although is clear and appears to be easy as spelt out in the recommendations, yet it is not quite clear (confusing, but yeah) because the lack of any result.
The journey is still a long and winding one, even for an optimist. Especially when this is going to be the fourth edition of Bersih since its first rally on November 10, 2007.
What Bersih has really achieved since then? Indelible ink? More awareness? More noise? Really, to be honest, not much in measurable results when you compare with the recommendations mentioned earlier.
But that is because we have a stubborn and irresponsible government in place.
Many promises were made, not many were met. All the structural changes recommended to achieve the main objective of Bersih – free and fair elections have yet to be made.
The Election Commission is still not reporting to Parliament. Political funding has yet to be regulated. Delineation, minimal to none, has yet to be carried out.
So we are stuck with the same old play. Yes, it is silly to keep doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. But what choice do we have for now?
Do you have better and workable ideas? By all means, do it. Just don’t ridicule the persistence of Bersih supporters.
Because at this stage, we are still only concerned with “what.” And “why”.
Why do we want free and fair elections? So we will get a clean government in the process when we have free and fair elections.
When we have a clean government, hopefully we will have a government which actually cares about the economy, will listen to the voice of the people who put them in office and implement measures and policies to the benefit of the economy.
How will Bersih achieve this? Well before that, does Bersih have a consistent and big enough voice to get things done its way?
As what you and I want if we all support its objectives and fights. Because if we don’t have a consistent and big enough support to pressure the powers to be to carry out the recommendations for all the things we want and why, there’s no point talking about how now.
We must remember that Bersih is nothing but a pressure group with its main objective of electoral reforms. Bersih is not the policymaker.
To burden Bersih with all the how to get this and that done, shouldn’t these questions be asked to those who can make it happen?
Ask the bloody government. Ask the bloody Election Commission. Ask the bloody prime minister who has a chokehold over the whole Cabinet and everything that moves (maybe some already dead, unfortunately) in this land.
There are so many things to do, a lot of it have to be in place before what we want can happen.
Do we expect to have all the answers before we want to be a part of anything?
You already know the whats and whys. You want to know the how as well? Bloody hell, go play your game with your cheat codes and walk-through guide don’t you?
We want to save the economy, save the nation but before all that can happen, we need to restore the confidence and strengthen the institutions we entrust to safeguard our interests, foremost.
And I have lost confidence in all the major institutions we entrusted to safeguard our interests, to do their sacred jobs because all are falling apart because of political interference.
Look at how much power the prime minister and its office wield over the Attorney-General’s Chamber, police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, judiciary, the submissive Cabinet and by extension, Parliament by making it a lame-duck Parliament.
What else common folk like me can do other than voting come every rigged-election and making noise on social media that will be soon regulated and clamped down?
This government is making a mockery of its mandate day in, day out, hell no, I have not and will never give my vote to anyone to abuse the governing system, public institutions and ruin the nation like what is happening now.
So, you be damned if people want to walk the streets with the like-minded to show their displeasure with the government and the system. The most important of all, to throw their support for Bersih in its fight for electoral reforms.
For free and fair elections.
For a clean government.
For me, I just need these two reasons. How many do you need? – August 21, 2015.