Ambiga asks politicians to join Bersih rally

By Boo Su-Lyn
June 12, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan today urged leaders from both sides of the political divide to attend next month’s rally seeking for free and fair elections

“We need them to hear our grievances,” said Ambiga at a ceramah in Brickfields here today.

“It is the Sarawak election that has caused Bersih to call this rally on July 9. We’ve been engaging with the Election Commission (EC), but we’re not going anywhere… there is no real meaningful change,” added the former Bar Council president.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has warned against the rally, saying it will turn chaotic should opposing supporters clash.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties and activists are gearing up to march next month in the second such rally by Bersih, the first being in 2007 where up to 50,000 were reported to have gathered in the capital, with many being dispersed by water cannons and tear gas launched by the police.

The 2007 rally was said to play a big role in bringing record gains for the opposition electoral pact in Election 2008, where it swept five state governments and won 82 parliamentary seats.

Ambiga said election malpractices had marred the recent Sarawak state election, citing vote-buying and abuse of government machinery.

“There was a video on Malaysiakini that showed blatant vote-buying. It showed a longhouse with piles of money,” she said.

“(But) the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) says we can’t investigate because video evidence is not reliable,” added the prominent lawyer.

The winning Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, Joseph Mauh Ikeh, in the Tamin state seat, reportedly said the cash payments were “travel allowances” for voters.

Ambiga also slammed BN for barring her from entering Sarawak prior to the state election last April.

“They’re not afraid of me at all. It’s a show of arrogance of power,” she said.

She added, however, that the EC had assured her that it would persuade government-controlled media to be fair in their coverage of election candidates.

Ambiga listed Bersih 2.0’s demands in its upcoming rally: clean up the electoral roll, reform postal voting, use indelible ink, introduce a minimum 21-day campaign period, allow free access to media, strengthen institutions, and end dirty politics.

“Putrajaya doesn’t belong to anyone else except the rakyat. We will decide who goes there,” she said to rousing applause.

  1. #1 by Joshua on Monday, 13 June 2011 - 5:04 pm

    Ambiga said “rally seeking for free and fair elections”

    I would add “rally seeking for free and fair and TRUE elections” because Election Commission had been rigging almost all general elections as Govt printer – my friend – died soon after retirement.

    Also check that out

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Monday, 13 June 2011 - 5:04 pm

    If 50,000 turnout in the 2007 rally could result in Tsunami 2008, PAS call of 300,000 turnout would probably cause BN to go down in history in GE13!!

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Monday, 13 June 2011 - 5:20 pm

    For sure, now that Perkasa has said they will try and create trouble for Bersih, a high target can be reached. Lots of people will be showing up just to stand against Perkasa and Zul Nordin. The key is how to maintain discipline and passive resistance and avoid triggering ISA and Ops Lallang II..

  4. #4 by drngsc on Monday, 13 June 2011 - 5:20 pm

    Dear Ambiga,
    I fully support BERSIH 2.0. I must ask you to seriously re-consider your invitation for politicians to get involved. There are many downside when the whole thing becomes a political circus. It may be wiser to remain as an NGO rally, and everyone involve just work for a better Malaysia, and not representing their parties.
    Please let us just concentrate on a clean, free and fair election, without the politics.

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya

  5. #5 by Thor on Monday, 13 June 2011 - 6:01 pm

    Bersih 2.0 rally?
    Let’s make it real big this time!
    Bigger than any that we’ve ever seen.
    Let us show to those buggers that we can’t be intimidate anymore.
    Watch out for those Perkasa goons as well!
    If you ever bump onto those “frogs”, please aim your slippers at them.
    Make sure they run for their life.

  6. #6 by life is not a fairy tale dude on Monday, 13 June 2011 - 7:23 pm

    FRU should beat the hell out of the people who will go to Bersih rally.

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Monday, 13 June 2011 - 8:10 pm

    Lets once and for all correct all journalist. Perkasa is a champion of UMNOputras privilleges, not Malay right. Its only logical for UMNOputra privilliges fighter to oppose Bersih. Ibrahim Ali is only giving EVEN MORE reason, undeniable proof for the need of Bersih..

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