Bersih 3.0 necessary due to ‘haste’ in holding polls, Ambiga tells EC

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 06, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Bersih 2.0 has defended its planned April 28 rally, saying it is necessary as the government has not shown any commitment to implement the group’s eight reform demands before the next election.

The election watchdog’s chairman, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, accused the government of “showing haste” in calling for elections, which she predicted would be soon, and this made Bersih’s rally even more relevant and timely.

“As I said it is the government that is showing haste in holding the elections. No one has said that the reforms Bersih 2.0 has called for will be implemented before the 13th general election. Why is that?

“We have to do this now because the elections seem to be round the corner… I strongly disagree with what Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had said,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

The Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman had described Bersih’s decision to hold a third rally for free and fair elections as “hasty and rash”.

He said Bersih should have instead accepted the 22-point recommendations presented by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms and allowed the commission to study the recommendations first.

He questioned Bersih’s rationale in having a third rally, and pointed out that the EC itself has yet to issue a response to the PSC’s findings.

But Wan Ahmad’s remarks appeared to have irritated Ambiga, who repeatedly asked why the EC as well as the government could not “commit” to implement all key reform demands before the next general election.

“We are of the view that the key recommendations can be implemented before the 13th GE. We have even offered the help of civil society. This is a call we have been making for months.

“How can this be hasty when it appears the elections may be round the corner? That (snap polls) is hasty. If it seems like we are rushing it is because it seems they are rushing to elections without the reforms,” she stressed.

Bersih’s third rally for free and fair elections is set to go on from 2pm to 4pm at Dataran Merdeka here.

But this time, the gathering will also be joined by simultaneous events across the country, likely adding pressure to the government to accede to the group’s demand for a total reform to the country’s election processes.

Bersih’s previous rally on July 9, 2011 turned chaotic when the authorities employed huge teams of riot police, armed with water cannons and tear gas launchers, to disperse the crowd of thousands.

How can this be hasty when it appears the elections may be round the corner? That (snap polls) is hasty. If it seems like we are rushing it is because it seems they are rushing to elections without the reforms. — Ambiga Sreenevasan

The crowd had converged on the streets of the capital from the early hours of July 9, defying earlier warnings that their participation could result in arrests.

Over 1,600 people were detained as a result, including Ambiga and scores of opposition lawmakers, but Bersih 2.0 later declared the event a success based on the number of participants and the publicity it had earned in both local and international media.

The government moved quickly to enact the Peaceful Assembly Act after the event and formed the PSC on electoral reforms, but Bersih 2.0 maintains that these moves were insufficient.

Ambiga has pointed out that the PSC’s 22 recommendations had failed to deal with specific discrepancies in the electoral roll.

These include duplicate voters, overly large numbers of voters registered to a single address, the existence of deceased voters, and a suspicious spike in the number of civilian and postal voters, among many other similar irregularities.

The former Bar Council chairman also noted that the PSC had not only failed to address issues surrounding election offences and dirty politics, but also did not expressly direct the EC to implement all 22 reform recommendations in time for the 13th general election.

She said it was Bersih’s hope that national polls are not called anytime soon in order to give the government enough time to implement the reforms.

Bersih’s first rally in 2007, also for free and fair elections, has been widely credited for the 2008 political tsunami that saw Barisan Nasional (BN) lose its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.

The ruling coalition faced a stunning defeat in five states, and the historic event led to the formation of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), a loose pact comprising the DAP, PKR and PAS.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 7:51 pm

    ///He questioned Bersih’s rationale in having a third rally, and pointed out that the EC itself has yet to issue a response to the PSC’s findings.///

    The EC should stop its foot dragging tactic – we rakyat are not stupid.

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 12:23 am

    I think the only option left for us now is betul-betul bersih ke-tiga kali dia orang-orang yang tidak berkelayakan-orang yang tanpa moral dan beriman-orang yang tidak bertanggung jawap kepada rakyat dan negara-orang yang keperluan dan kepentingan hidupnya bergantung kepada nafsu rasuah dan kuasa mahligai untuk hidup mewah sebagai Raja antarabangsa.Secara ringkas,orang-orang bangsat inilah yang tidak layak sekali atau berkemampuan untuk memimpin negara ke tahap yang cukup membanggakan untuk keseluruhan rakyat!I will be there for Bersih 3.0.Let’s encourage acquaintances,friends,colleaques, relatives and family members to join hand in hand for Bersih 3.0.Time to change! ABU!

  3. #3 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 9:02 am

    No point reasoning with umno. Just ABU.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 9:15 am

    Another Bersih 3.0 on 28th April panics BN and Nazri quickly responded that PR’s Minority Report will be submitted for Cabinet’s deliberation (M’Kini April 6th). Reality is both Bersih & PR know crystal clear that BN is not sincere in electoral reforms. More important is even if Govt were sincere to want reforms – the implementation of which ranges from 45 days 12 months and some like separating functions of EC, long term – these cannot be done by the next GE! The situation is BN side wants to stay in power, no matter what – and the opposite side wants them out in next GE, no matter what. So this means that if Bersih 3.0 can help the momentum to dislodge BN, no matter what, it implies Bersih 3.0 must happen on 28th April, and Bersih 4.0 thereafter, no matter what, electoral reforms or no reforms. Electoral reforms are just excuse – each opposing side just wants to leverage on the moral cause of this issue to advance its own political agenda! If genuine reforms (before elections) were really the issue, each reform has to be identified, both sides must agree the time line to achieve it and method of independent verification/audit spelled out. Supposing it will take another 3-5 years to implement electoral reforms, can Ah Jib Gor, for eg., ask PR for its support to amend constitution and defer the next GE until 5 years later so that BN can enjoy continuance of office? Surely not. Those opposed do not want BN to stay for even 5 days, they can help it. So feasibility of Electoral reforms is no more issue. Reforms & Bersih 3.0 have become the pretext in this battle.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 9:35 am

    It all boils down to this:-

    Opposition’s argument – what’s the point of next GE if we walk into it with our hands tied, the EC for incumbent, against us, the whole ground of electoral machinery tilted against us? Ambiga says Bersih 3.0 is necessary due to ‘haste’ in holding polls.However to change the whole machinery or rid it off its chicanery (including verification esp Sabah electoral roll, will take years, and for Ambiga to take the position that reforms must be implemented before the next GE, is she prepared to endorse deferring GE13-that must happen constitutionally by the latest early next year- for years for these reforms to be implemented? I am sure only Ah Jib Gor and BN will be all too happy to agree!

    It’s a deadlock. So Bersih 3.0 is an excuse and becomes the means – not the ends/objectives- of reforms. For its ultimate agenda is to whack the BN in the next GE!

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 10:37 am

    With Bersih 3.0 on the horizon, the “election battle” has begun even before Najib dissolves parliament.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 11:00 am

    NAZI will rule: YELLOW n GREEN tak boleh pakai, 2 b BANNED with immediate effect, mata2 2 tangkap any1 in yellow n green
    Our learned Oxford graduate KJ declared most key reform demands met, Y still make noise 1
    Fr he who got eyes but C not, n with twisted tongue, mayb he had 1 too much fire water lah

  8. #8 by Winston on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 11:51 am

    When will Malaysians ever learn that electoral reforms are anathema to UMNO/BN’s desperation to stay in power!
    Because, to lose it would mean, not only the end of the gravy train, but also, and this is very important, the strong possibility that all their evil deeds over the decades will catch up with them!!!!!!!
    So, it’s a given that they will never concede to electoral reforms! Come what may!!!!!
    What they are doing is a mere show of reforms.

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 12:27 pm

    /NAZI will rule: YELLOW n GREEN tak boleh pakai, 2 b BANNED with immediate effect, mata2 2 tangkap any1 in yellow n green/

    No need to worry liau.We will have the help and backing from royalty.Hidup tuanku.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 4:54 pm

    Ambiga is not easy for Najib to fool her.
    Timely is right.
    After distributing more than RM71 millions to Malaysians….Najib has created a “feel good” atmosphere to announce 13th GE around June…but after BERSIH 3…Najib may postpone it to Sept…and find another RM100 million{OUR MONEY}.. to give our like Santa Clause…to inject more “feel good” went Malaysians are feeling how bad the Govt is.
    Money…and more money for success by Najib.
    Clean and corrupt free by People Power.
    The battle is on.

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