Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Memories of BERSIH and BERSIH 2.0

10 November 2007 was the BERSIH rally in KL in which the police and former PM Abdullah Badawi called it as a "perhimpunan haram". But nobody gave a damn about the warning and braved the streets despite roadblocks put up by police to prevent more people coming in. Although it rained heavily that day, people still come into the streets and marched up to the Palace to make a statement to the government that "the election process is still dirty and needs clean-up".

There are still memories of me witnessing those events while walking through the streets of KL that very Saturday afternoon. It was bad weather, police have been in many places including sealing off Dataran Merdeka, and there's Unit Amal from PAS to cover people up and the march to the palace. And of course in the evening news, being covered by Al-Jazeera in which the whole world was laughing over what former Information Minister Zam Maidin was saying over to the news anchor that Malaysia kena malu over it.

Well, we can check those things back on Google - that's what the search engine for or you can refer. Or you can check out my account on Bersih in two parts (Part 1 link here) and (Part 2 Link here)

Anyhow, despite the protest, the Election commission withdrew the idea of indellible ink at the very last minute. And as to say total ignorance to the demands, the retirement age of the EC chairman was extended to 66. 

What caught my attention here is that on the voting of the proposal above.

There are a few BN MPs who once said during 2004 GE campaign that they really represent the people's voice in the Parliament. Say they got voted into Parliament by the people, in other words receiving the mandate. There is an upcoming proposal of approving A. The MP asked the people whether to approve A or not. People said no. But the whip demands you vote to approve A otherwise disciplinary action is taken. The MP has no other choice but to follow the whip. Then what does that make you? A real MP representing Parliament carrying people's mandate or a mere UMNO machai?

Note: See the pre-Batu Sapi by-election posting by Haris to Linda Tsen.

It seems that no matter how much demands and calls for improving the election system, with improved measures including automatic registration, constant check of electoral roll, indelible ink, dealing with phantom voters, the EC still remains yet to show signs to follow the calls of improvement. This gives the picture that EC is an unofficial component party of the BN mob group. 

So it seems that the message is not drilled into their heads hard enough.


We, the BERSIH 2.0 steering committee, invite your organisation to join and unite with us to advance clean and fair elections in Malaysia. Much still needs to be done and Bersih 2.0 needs your support and help to make the mission come true for a democratic Malaysia.

BERSIH 2.0 believes that it is only when elections are clean and fair, can citizens determine their own destiny and expect holders of public office to act accountably and effectively. The road to electoral reform is part and parcel of the democratic process to put into place the rule of law, human rights protection, good governance and sustainable development in Malaysia. As citizens we can make this our reality.

The key issues of electoral reform include

1. A complete revision of the electoral roll to ensure that the existing irregularities are removed and a roll with full integrity is in place.

2. The use of indelible ink (as is done in Indonesia and India) to prevent multiple voting.

3. The reform of postal voting to abolish the existing separate electoral roll for postal voters and to make it flexible for all voters, at home or abroad, with valid reasons to opt for postal voting.

4. Free and fair media access for all contesting parties, which should include: (a) free access to state-owned media especially television and radio; (b) fair paid access (political advertisement) to private media; and (c) provision of the right of reply for all contesting parties and personalities who are covered negatively in news reports.

5. A meaningful minimum campaign period of 21 days.

6. Fair and professional practices in constituency redelineation exercises to minimise malapportionment, gerrymandering and consequent disproportionality in seats and votes.

7. Automatic registration of all eligible voters.

8. Reduction of the voting eligibility age from 21 to 18 years old.

9. Reform in electoral financing to ensure transparency and limit the influence of money politics.

10. Administrative neutrality of all levels of governments before, during and after general and by-elections for the federal and state legislatures.

11. Affirming the right of all students of 18 years and above, to participate in politics inside and outside campus.

Bersih 2.0, whilst acknowledging the importance of the reform agenda of Bersih, is now relaunched as a fully non-partisan coalition of civil society groups. It is a movement of ordinary citizens asserting the right of all, to clean and fair elections as guaranteed by law. We must ensure our votes and voices count.

We, therefore, warmly invite you and your organisations to join us and extend your full support to ensure that the next election and future ones will be clean, fair and democratic.

The details of the launch are as follows:

Date: 10 November 2010 (Wednesday)
Time: 8.30 p.m. – 10.30 p.m.
Venue: PJ Civic Hall, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya.

Please bring your members and friends to the launch. You can contact Nurul at 03-77844977 for more information. If you have not joined BERSIH 2.0 as a member, we have enclosed a membership form for your action.

Yours sincerely,
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan

The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, (Chairperson), Andrew Khoo, Arumugam K., Dr Farouk Musa, Haris Ibrahim, Liau Koh Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Yeoh Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.

Yep, I want to come and watch this out. There's no way that thing can be ignored at this time though.

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