Electoral reform movement Bersih today announced that the fifth instalment of its rally will be held on Nov 19 and themed ‘Stand United, New Malaysia!’
Bersih steering committee chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said the rally would be preceded by a nationwide Bersih Convoy, beginning Oct 1.
“Bersih believes that not protesting is not an option.
“Malaysians must stand united and take a strong stand against this grand corruption and the failure of our institutions,” Maria told a press conference at a hotel in Petaling Jaya.
She said the Bersih 5 rally this time would be raising five main demands, each with its own reform agenda that the government must fulfil.
Top of the list are reforms linked to the establishment of a clean government, and preventing a recurrence of financial scandals like those surrounding state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
She added that Bersih’s tagline, “Stand United, New Malaysia”, also marked the 10th anniversary of its formation as a people’s movement.
“We have come a long way, but our work is not yet done. We understand the frustrations of Malaysians who have passionately worked for change for many years but we must not give up and continue the struggle for reform, justice and human rights,” Maria said.
In the run-up to the rally, Maria also announced that Bersih 2.0 would be holding a seven week nationwide convoy across 246 towns and cities to raise awareness on the need for all Malaysians to support its reform agenda.
The flag-off for the convoy will take place simultaneously in six places – Kangar (Perlis), Johor Baru (Johor), Kota Baru (Kelantan), Lumut (Perak), Sandakan (Sabah) and Miri (Sarawak).
“The emphasis this time is to start a national conversation with all Malaysians. We have to bring the message to everyone so they understand the need for electoral reforms,” she said.
Asked to respond to concerns that Bersih 2.0’s non-partisan stand has been compromised over the years, Maria insisted that calling for Najib’s resignation was not tantamount to supporting opposition parties.
“Getting rid of Najib is one of our demands, but at the end of the day we are saying that you (the opposition) can bring any of your leaders (to the rally) but if they don’t support our reform agenda, they will not be our leaders,” she stressed.
Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Hishammuddin Rais also pointed out that the electoral reform agenda is “interconnected” with Najib, based on the prime minister’s own reported admission that money deposited into his personal account was used to fund the last general election.
Among the others present today were Human Rights Society chairperson Ambiga Sreenivasan, Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Toh Kin Woon and Tangkap Malaysian Official 1 spokesperson Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof. – Malaysiakini