Come to Bersih rallies as citizens, not politicians

FMT Staff

KUCHING: The Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) has urged politicians keen to partake in future Bersih rallies to attend as concerned citizens and leave their political agendas at home.

MoCS leader Francis Paul Siah said that leaders of political parties must acknowledge and respect Bersih rallies as initiatives of civil society.

“While their support and participation are welcomed, politicians must let Bersih leaders take charge for the rally is their event and they are the legitimate organisers.

“Failure to accord Bersih that recognition will make it difficult to dispel the notion that the Bersih rallies have been hijacked by political parties as had happened with Bersih 3.0 on April 28,” Siah pointed out.

Recalling events before April 28, Siah said he represented MoCS at the Bersih 3.0 meeting on April 19 where it was endorsed that only Bersih co-chairpersons S Ambiga and Samad Said were to be the speakers at the rally. No politicians were supposed to speak.

MoCS is one of the 84 NGOs which endorses Bersih’s demands for free and fair elections.

“Security and medical issues were also discussed in detail at the meeting chaired by Ambiga. Everything was meticulously planned for a peaceful assembly. All those present were in high spirits.

“Then came the DBKL order against the use of Dataran Merdeka and Bersih held an emergency meeting on April 23.

“Although I was absent at this meeting, I sent an email to Ambiga stating MoCS’ stand of sticking to Dataran Merdeka as the venue for Bersih 3.0. I believe that was the consensus at that meeting,” he said.

Contrary to accusations and allegations that Bersih was taking instructions from certain Pakatan Rakyat leaders, Siah stressed that has to be the biggest joke of all.

“Ambiga, Samad Said, (Bersih steering committee member) Wong Chin Huat and others are people of integrity and substance who hold no allegiance to any political party at all.

“Likewise, MoCS is not aligned to any political party. We are independent and on the side of justice. MoCS is with Bersih because it is a civil society movement with a non-political leadership,” he added.

PAS leader was wrong

On PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu’s statement that there will be one million protesters for Bersih 4.0, Siah said it was wrong of the PAS leader to use the name of Bersih.

“If PAS wants to organise a rally, please feel free to do so but the party has no right to do it under the auspices of Bersih. There may be NGOs affiliated to Bersih who are not keen to take part in protests helmed by political parties. PAS must respect that there are apolitical NGOs under Bersih,” he explained.

The MoCS leader also declared his movement’s unflinching support for Ambiga and condemned the acts of intimidation against her in recent weeks.

“The more Ambiga is persecuted by forces against Bersih, including the childish antics of some clowns who turned up at her residence, the more support Ambiga will garner from the public.

“The crude and intimidating actions of those ‘clowns’ and ‘goons’ are not going to work. Ambiga will emerge out of such episodes more committed and blessed with more vigour and strength,” Siah added

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