Bersih: Grave concern over the deepening political crisis

Press statement by concerned academicians on the Bersih march (KUALA LUMPUR, 5 July 2011)

We, the undersigned academicians, wish to express our concern at the deepening political crisis in the country. It is unfortunate that such a crisis is emerging out of a legitimate campaign, initiated by a large number of non-governmental organizations, to institute reforms through their campaign, Bersih, to ensure the conduct of truly free and fair elections in Malaysia.  Since the pursuit of such a campaign is undeniably noble, and timely, we are extremely perturbed that the government has resorted to harsh measures and use of draconian legislation to prevent the organizers from mounting a public rally.

We see the need for the leaders of Bersih to persist with dialogue with the bodies responsible for overseeing free and fair elections.  However, we also appreciate the argument by the campaign’s leaders that such an assembly is necessary since discussions have long taken place, with little progress – thus the need for the government to take serious heed of the campaign’s recommendations for free and fair elections for which there is considerable support from the country’s citizenry.

We note too that public assemblies and marches in support of causes that have attracted widespread public concern are a common feature of all democratic systems.  They are a legitimate expression of the freedom and rights of the citizens of a country.  A government that uses the laws, institutions and resources of the state to suppress or repress such activities undermines its own credibility and claim to practicing democracy.  The actions of the Government to curb this Bersih campaign will only hurt public perception of the Government’s commitment to the freedoms enshrined in the Federal Constitution.  Further actions such as the use of the Emergency Ordinance on Bersih supporters will only result in the enhanced perception of a government that refuses to institute free and fair elections for fear of losing power, an impression we are certain the government does not want to create.

We urge the following steps to resolve the crisis and restore public confidence in the Government’s ability to govern the country fairly and justly.

1. Release all political activists held under the Emergency Ordinance.

2. Drop all charges against those arrested by the police for Bersih-related offences.

3. Permit Bersih the right to a peaceful march, if the organizers decide to do so. All other public marches should be allowed but with the timing and routes agreed to in advance to prevent any untoward consequences

4. Both Government and Opposition parties, as well as NGOs, to commit their supporters participating in marches and other public assemblies to a code of peaceful and civil conduct

5. Assurance by the relevant authorities that serious consideration is being given to ensure free and fair elections in the country.


Associate Prof. Dr. Andrew Aeria
Associate Prof. Dr. Azmi Sharom
Dr. Christopher Chong
Associate Prof. Dr. Sharmani Gabriel
Prof. Terence Gomez
Prof. Lim Teck Ghee
Dr. Lee Hwok Aun
Prof. Francis Loh
Assoc Prof Dr Mustafa K Anuar
Dr. Ooi Kee Beng
Janet Pillai
Dr. Johan Saravanamuttu
Prof. Tan Sooi Beng
Associate Prof. Dr. Yeoh Seng Guan
Prof. Diana Wong
Prof. Zaharom Nain
Assoc Prof. Dr Mustafa K Annuar
Prof. Zaharom Nain

Distributed on behalf of the group by CPI

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 12:53 pm

    Ai yo yoh, si liao lah, U all promoting public assemblies n marches, your paymasters n HE minister n his gang of woof-woof will b going after U, 1 by 1

  2. #2 by -e- on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 1:05 pm

    if there are only 13 academicians who care, there would really be a concern.

  3. #3 by InnerPeaceWalkers on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 1:25 pm

    YAB, as one of the rakyat, hope YAB could heed our King’s wise and sincere advice against street rally. Street rallies are not our culture and have never been our culture. Look at the other parts of the world with street rallies. Nothing but more hatred, tensions and chaos.

    According to the Mayan calendar, this is a transition period, and they will be a lot of natural disasters and unstable emotions happening around the world. What made us think it would not happen in our country?

    With this knowledge, we have to be very cautious esp. in this trying period where the Moon, the Sun and the millions of stars are moving closer to Earth causing instability around the world due to this impending polar shift according to the Mayan calendar. Do not underestimate its potency. Do not turn a potential small spark into a potential bush fire that would be hard to put off once started
    . Opposition should work harmoniously and peacefully with the ruling party for the benefit of our lovely people and our lovely country. IMO, if the Opposition care for the people, they should heed our King’s advice. Vote for Walk for Inner Peace. With inner peace comes outer peace.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 1:40 pm

    ///A government that uses the laws, institutions and resources of the state to suppress or repress such activities undermines its own credibility and claim to practicing democracy.///

    This is the price people have to pay for voting in an authoritarian regime.

    Be smart, “think before you vote” come GE13.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 2:11 pm

    Abraham Ah Lee the pseudomalay says— I demand that those 13 cilaka listed above have their malaysian citizenship revoked.

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 2:24 pm

    I hope these “Academicians for Liberty” would join the walk together with those “Lawyers for Liberty”.

    Thank you. More academicians are urged to take leave of their ivory palaces for a day to joing Bersih Rally if it materialises.

  7. #7 by for my country1 on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 2:57 pm

    This is for the good of the country….especially the generations of the future…..therefore i fully support for peaceful rally.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 2:59 pm

    Per Malaysiakini’s report dated 4th July with caption “Pakatan wants in on Bersih audience with Agong”, “Pakatan Rakyat’s top leadership will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss plans to seek an audience with the Agong over the upcoming Bersih 2.0 rally. PKR’s Azmin “stressed that it is important for both the Bersih 2.0 committee and Pakatan to meet with the Agong, to explain that the demands for electoral reform will not in any way cause chaos” PAS’s deputy president “Mohamad Sabu said that, if PAS is part of the Bersih 2.0 delegation, the party would inform the Agong about how the law is being abused by the authorities”. But isn’t this tryiing the close the barn door after the horse has bolted? Bersih 2.0 leaders have already been granted audience and entered the istana (at 1.55pm). In view of this PR parties today declared themselves “open” to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s offer to allow Bersih 2.0 to hold its July 9 rally in a stadium. Crisis Over?

  9. #9 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 3:30 pm

    When will umno realized that they rule due to our good graces. Now they want to trample on our generosity?

  10. #10 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 3:31 pm

    When will umno realized that they rule due to our good graces. Now they want to trample on our generosity? Bhangsat.

  11. #11 by dagen on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 4:26 pm

    Undertaker888, listen. Umno rule because they have rambutans. And we dont have rambutans because cintanegara is not our friend … huh ? mana si celaka tu? Oi cintanegara u sudah pegi mana mati?

  12. #12 by drngsc on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 5:05 pm

    Agreed Academics,

    Good to hear your stands.
    I was wondering, what happen to the other ?1,000 other academics in Malaysia?? Are they yellow??

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya

  13. #13 by monsterball on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 6:22 pm

    BERSIH is what it means..bersih,
    Najib and his goons can twist all they wants.
    All settled by the King…and now….
    BERSIH not banned…yellow shirts not banned.
    Dirty politics performed by rouges and thieves lost!!
    No reasons to have Emergency Rule now.
    When will 13th GE be announced?
    Wait awhile..Najib out to woo Indian votes.
    One who declared he has 72% support sure do not behave like having 72% support.
    Perhaps..27% and sliding down…..more like it.

  14. #14 by raven77 on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 - 12:38 am

    Wow..if the King steps in …does it mean there wont be any more cheating in elections…..

    Sadly it will mean only one thing…buisness as usual…

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