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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bersih Rally a Turning Point for Democracy

Umno also realizes that it has committed too many wrongs that betray the people’s interest, and more people have come to know of these through the fast growing alternative media. Combined with the growing influence of opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat, the coming rally could be a powerful demonstration of the people’s will to reclaim sovereignty from the long-reigning kleptocracy through electoral reforms. That is something that Umno does not want to see happening.

By Kim Quek

Amidst the frenzy of draconian measures to prevent the July 9 Bersih rally from taking place, many Malaysians have begun to wonder: Has Malaysia descended into a state of lawlessness?

No sooner had Home Minister declared that wearing the yellow Bersih T-shirt was illegal, the Inspector General of Police up the ante by announcing that even “shoes, cars, buses or any medium that promote the Bersih rally are illegal, as this amounts to sedition”, and he said the people involved will be arrested.

To date, more than a hundred people have been arrested all over the country in the past four days, mainly for wearing the yellow Bersih shirts.

To me, this sounds like someone speaking and acting as if he is the absolute monarch who can order the arrest of anyone at his whims, and whose word is law. For nowhere in the Malaysian law can you find a provision that allow a minister or a police officer to declare an item such as the Bersih shirt illegal or to arrest someone before a crime is committed or suspected to have been committed. The Bersih rally is not even held, so how can a crime be committed in connection with the rally?


So, what has driven the Minister and the IGP into such extreme conduct of resorting to brazenly unlawful exercise of power?

Is Bersih a terrorist organization that plots to overthrow the government by violence? Is Bersih calling people to break laws and create chaos? What terrible deeds have Bersih done to cause such phobia in the authorities that they should strike at everything that moves, so to speak, that smells of Bersih?

None of that.

Bersih is a civil society movement participated by sixty two non-government organizations to campaign for electoral reforms. . And the July 9 rally is specifically called to address the problem of the authorities’ recalcitrance to institute any form of reform. Despite persistent requests over many years, the Election Commission and the incumbent ruling coalition Barisan Nasional have not moved even one inch towards reforming an electoral system that has been reduced to a complete farce through ever escalating vote-buying, abuse of power and massive rigging.

With such noble intention, how could Bersih be branded as anything other than a respectable body that works towards restoration of democracy and return of political power to the people? It should be obvious by now that without free and fair election, political power is vested in a few incumbent leaders, not with the people.

And when such a respectable body calls for a rally to highlight its cause to the nation, how can such a rally be taboo, and everything connected with it be decreed illegal?

Up to now, the incumbent hegemon Umno and the police have not come up with an iota of credible evidence that the Bersih rally is anything but a peaceful and honourable gathering, called in accordance with the right endowed by the Constitution to every citizen. Regretably, the police have so far conducted themselves as a force serving Umno’s parochial political interests, in direct confrontation with the interests of the masses.


The excuses given so far to justify arrest and to label the rally illegal are laughable and carry no credibility – accusations such as a communist plot to wage war against the Agong, a movement aided by foreign Christian bodies to subvert the country, an event that will jeopardize public order and national security, and cause economic damage.

These tales of impending threats and calamities are so far-fetched that they are not only disbelieved by decent Malaysians, but also reflect the paucity of rationale of the incumbent power to justify their condemnation and clampdown on the movement.

That their excuses to crucify the Bersih rally are rubbish is amply manifested in the admirable political and economic well being of those democratic countries where such peaceful rallies are part and parcel of their democratic way of life. Look at our regional neighbor Hong Kong. Rallies of a few hundred thousand people to demonstrate against the Hong Kong or Chinese government are routinely staged there, and yet there was not the slightest indication that public order was affected or businesses harmed. On the contrary, Hong Kong continues to enjoy ever increasing prosperity and stability.

So, what is Umno afraid of?

The honest truth and the bottom line is: Umno has no confidence to politically survive a free and fair election.

That is why it has not yielded an inch in the direction of moving Malaysian election to a more level-playing field, and it has no intention to do so in the future.

Umno also realizes that it has committed too many wrongs that betray the people’s interest, and more people have come to know of these through the fast growing alternative media. Combined with the growing influence of opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat, the coming rally could be a powerful demonstration of the people’s will to reclaim sovereignty from the long-reigning kleptocracy through electoral reforms.

That is something that Umno does not want to see happening.


We can hence expect that Umno will continue to step up pressure against Bersih by manipulating compliant institutions such as police and judiciary, at the expense of the Constitution and law, to stifle the Bersih move.

But Umno is in a no-win situation. To be faithful to the Constitution which means that the peaceful rally must be allowed to proceed, Umno dreads to see a mammoth assembly that could be demoralizing to its dwindling supporters. On the hand, a brutal repression that breaks all laws may kindle public fury to an explosive state with unpredictable consequences. Even if it succeeds in suppressing the rally, it can only bring temporary relief to Umno, as the ugly scenes of unjustified cruelty and transgression of law and fundamental human rights will be mercilessly bared for all to see, thanks to modern IT technology, reminiscent of the Tahrir square uprising and the subsequent revolutionary fire that has spread across the entire Arab world. By that time, Umno and BN’s popular support may have so dwindled that even the status quo of skewed election and stooge institutions cannot save it from an electoral defeat.

I am confident that the majority of Malaysians has already reached such a level of political consciousness that the will of the people will prevail to make July 9 rally an important turning point in our struggle to reclaim democracy and sovereignty for the people.

Human Rights Watch: End Crackdown on Peaceful Campaigners

The Malaysian government’s crackdown on an electoral reform group shows utter disregard both for free expression and for the democratic process. Governments that elected Malaysia to a second term on the UN Human Rights Council might feel duped.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

The Malaysian government should immediately end its crackdown on the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and release everyone arbitrarily detained for involvement in its activities, Human Rights Watch said today. Police should return all Bersih-related materials confiscated during the past week and cease pursuing spurious criminal charges, including sedition and "waging war against the king," against peaceful political activists, Human Rights Watch said.

On June 29, 2011, police raided Bersih's office at the organization Empower, arresting seven people and confiscating computers, office equipment, Bersih literature, posters, and t-shirts. According to the inspector general of police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, 101 people have been arrested on various charges in the past five days for promoting what he termed an "illegal assembly," namely Bersih's planned march in Kuala Lumpur on July 9.

"The Malaysian government's crackdown on an electoral reform group shows utter disregard both for free expression and for the democratic process," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Governments that elected Malaysia to a second term on the UN Human Rights Council might feel duped."

The Malaysian government, instead of responding substantively to Bersih's eight-point electoral reform program, has begun an apparent campaign to discredit the coalition and to scare off Malaysians who had considered participating in the July 9 march.

Thirty members of the opposition Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) remain in custody in Penang after being arrested on June 25 on the way to a political rally under the draconian charge of "waging war against the king" of Malaysia. The inspector general of police told journalists that "foreign elements" - whom he declined to identify - were involved and would take advantage of the unrest if the rally went ahead.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia recognizes the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, speech and expression that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In seeking a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, Malaysia pledged in an official communication to other governments on March 9, 2010 that it "reaffirms its full commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights at both the domestic and international levels."

The government is seeking to prosecute Bersih leaders and activists under laws such as the Sedition Act of 1948 and the Police Act of 1967 in violation of fundamental rights recognized under international law, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch urged the Malaysian government to end its crackdown on Bersih and instead promptly initiate discussions with the Bersih steering committee and representatives of the 60 civil society groups that endorsed Bersih's proposed electoral reforms.

The government should also heed the June 27 call by the governmental Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and permit the July 9 Bersih rally to proceed. It should also permit possible counter-Bersih marches being planned by United Malays National Organization (UMNO) Youth and Perkasa and should ensure that police act in a nonpartisan manner to keep all the marches safely apart.

"Prime Minister Najib Razak should be welcoming efforts to reform the country's elections instead of jailing those urging reform," Robertson said. "By continuing these scare tactics, the Malaysian government is seriously damaging the country's reputation abroad."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A campaign of courage

By Stanley Koh | FMT

Why is the rally for electoral reforms such a political hot potato? Why this gush of threats and calls for the punishment of the Bersih rally organisers? Why is the Barisan Nasionl hegemony so fearful of electoral reforms? Why shouldn’t it support free, fair and clean elections?

Bertrand Russell once propounded the theory that bad leadership in a democracy is a logical impossibility. “The electorate always get the leaders they deserve. No matter how incompetent or venal the leaders are, the electorate must have been even worse to have elected them.”

But this cynical view cannot apply to Malaysia. The Malaysian experience has shown that it is possible for good citizens to get bad leaders.

Malaysians deserve a capable government. Not only must the best men and women among the candidates across the political divide win elections; they must also be elected under democratic principles supervised by a truly independent body.

Ministers and Members of Parliament should not be chosen because they are somebody’s cronies or through political horse trading or by back-door means, as in the appointment of senators among election losers.

The electorate must have all fair and just opportunities to elect the best governing team for the country.

That is why Malaysians must strive for changes in the electoral landscape.

In 2005, the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, published a study of the existing electoral system in Malaysia. With contributions from more than a dozen distinguished academicians, it gives us one of the best analyses of Malaysia’s electoral history.

“The general conclusion reached in this assessment of the current state of Malaysia’s electoral system is that Malaysian elections cannot be considered reasonably free and fair because they do not fulfil the functions required of them in formal democratic theory,” the authors wrote.

The rather silly official rebuttal against claims of unfairness and unjust elections is that the large voter turnout is a clear indication of public confidence in the electoral process.

And then there is the even more perverted argument that the opposition’s gains in the last general election proved that Malaysian elections are free and fair and the Election Commission is indeed independent.

That Malaysian elections are not conducted fairly is not just an allegation from opposition parties; it is also the observation of non-partisan citizens. No intelligent Malaysian can deny that the Barisan Nasional (BN) uses public institutions and public agencies to help it win elections and no thinking observer can fail to notice that it often resorts to threats, intimidation and bribery.

MCA hypocrisy

Those who know something of the history of Malaysian elections cannot fail to note that the system is diseased. Except for the 1969 and 2008 elections, BN has consistently been re-positioned with two thirds of the majority in Parliament although this is not reflected in its share of the popular vote.

Since the advent of the Internet, there has been an increase in documented evidence of BN’s ghetto politicking and various forms of blatant unethical campaign practices.

What is morally wrong cannot be politically correct, despite the perverted thinking among the leadership of the BN component parties, especially the MCA.

Indeed, the hypocrisy of the current MCA leadership is in stark contrast to the thinking of the party’s founding fathers. Hence, it should surprise no one to hear MCA recently threatening action against members planning to participate in the July 9 Bersih rally.

MCA’s current leaders, if they were true to the party’s founding ideals, should instead revisit the efforts of their predecessors to ensure a just political system.

In 1986, the MCA leadership voiced out, albeit discreetly, its disquiet over a range of unfair practices it attributed to the Umno leadership. Some of these had to do with the Chinese being under-represented in the BN government. MCA leaders had a pessimistic view of the future. They felt that the Umno hegemony would continue to cause an erosion of Chinese political power.

The leadership frankly admitted in a report: “The BN system in itself poses an inherent disadvantage for the Chinese community.

“This system gives the ruling elite in Umno the built-in opportunity to exploit intra-party divisions within Barisan to their advantage.”

The report also criticised the political bias in the delineation of electoral constituencies, citing the repeated amendment of the Federal Constitution to give heavier weight to rural constituencies, which it said went against the one-man-one-vote principle.

Past MCA leaders through the years have also lamented Umno’s domination of the both the executive and judicial arms of government and questioned the independence of the Election Commission (EC).

In great contrast to their predecessors, the current MCA leaders tend to behave like wimps. Their raging rhetoric against the Bersih rally is clearly symptomatic of political impotence, leaving us with the impression that MCA is a failed party devoid of ethical leadership.

Party president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s argument that Bersih has allowed itself to be used by the opposition in organising the rally has been reinforced by his deputy Liow Tiong Lai’s intimidating remark that the party will discuss whether to sack members who participate in the rally.

This posturing is likely to drive another nail into MCA’s coffin. In recent years, the party has repeatedly confirmed its irrelevance. Its raving and ranting over the Bersih rally could well be the tipping point of its political demise.

While we write off MCA, the pertinent question to ask is: Should conscientious Malaysians unite and rally to Bersih’s support against the sleazy electoral landscape?

Constitutional experts, political scientists and conscientious academicians seem to think so.

Electoral systems shape the nature and structure of political parties and of the wider party system in the countries in which they operate. The independence of the EC would promote greater accountability of MPs to their constituents.

Experts and opinion makers also contend that electoral reforms would contribute to greater political stability for all players in power.

Bersih is part and parcel of the political sphere

Bersih is a body that is in search for a free and fair election which over the years have seen how lame the Election Commission were. They have came out with an eight points demand that the EC needs to look into and applied accordingly but failed, hence, the call for the Bersih 2.0 walk for a free and fair election.

The EC itself is part of the political process that is ongoing, to keep up with time and the increase numbers of voters. They, like Bersih, is a body entrusted to ensure that all elections are carried out freely and fairly without aligning themselves to any political party. They have to engage with all political parties, be it the ruling party or the opposition to seek feedback on any changes of the electoral process.

But, alas, the EC is not seen to be carrying out its duty in a free and fair manner and mostly siding with the ruling party.

As such, Bersih was formed to engage and call upon the EC and government to ensure that future elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

Election is political, without political parties there will not be an election. Anything that has to do with elections are political and so are the EC and Bersih.

The ruling party is claiming that Bersih is political and is on the side of Pakatan Rakyat while those that are against the call for a free and fair election painted a very bad image of Bersih.

What is wrong with these people, don't they know that Bersih is part and parcel of the political sphere. Bersih invited all political parties which believe that there is a need for electoral reforms and to walk for a free and fair election.

Who will walk with Bersih if political parties are not involved? Majority, if not all, the people who will walk are affiliated with one political party or another as members or supporters.

PR sees the need for electoral reforms and thus supported Bersih. Why is it that certain parties or individuals are not happy and claimed that PR is hijacking or taking the forefront of the Bersih walk. Does it really matter that much? Bersih has to work with PR because PR supported Bersih's call for electoral reforms. I am sure Bersih will work with any other party from BN which supports the move as well.

Bersih is apolitical but is tied together with political parties in order to see that its agenda of a true electoral reforms are achieved.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Academic consensus on unfair elections: Reinforcing the Case for BERSIH’s March

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee

Many Malaysians may be unaware of the considerable research work by social scientists – both local and foreign – that have unequivocally concluded that the country’s record on free and fair elections has been abysmal. Analysis of this remarkable record of trickery, manipulation and gerrymandering by first the Alliance, followed by Barisan Nasional (BN), goes back for more than 50 years – in fact soon after the country received its independence.

Dishonest election conduct takes the following main forms:
i. the manipulation of electoral boundaries or gerrymandering

ii. the vast disparity of voter numbers among the constituencies

iii. the contamination of electoral rolls with phantom voters and other fraud

iv. the grossly unfair use of the governmental machinery and resources in support of ruling party candidates

v. impersonation, multiple voting, ballot stuffing and other frauds in polling, counting and tabulation

vi. the rigid and opaque postal voting system

vii. the short campaigning period and selective restriction on campaign freedom

viii. the biased and distorted official media coverage

ix. the inadequate and outdated regulations on election expenses and funding

x. the ineffectiveness of or limitation in judicial remedy

Adding to the above is the impotency of the Electoral Commission. Lately, there has been an upsurge of political hooliganism which is increasingly coming from high levels and aimed at suppressing any expression of concern over the fair conduct of elections. Thus, it is not surprising that the leaders of the ruling party are confident BN will remain in power – by hook or by crook – for the next 50 years.

Malaysians interested in how the ruling parties have manipulated the electoral process to their advantage are spoilt for choice in the matter of reading material. Reference to the work of any of the following scholars will provide facts and figures on the truth behind the facade of ‘democratic’ elections in the country. Among them are: Sothi Rachagan, Mavis Puthucheary, Noraini Othman, Lim Hong Hai, Wong Chin Huat, Harold Crouch, James Jesudason, John Funston, Rainer Heufers, Bridget Welsh, Ong Kian Meng, Mustafa K. Anuar, James Chin, William Case, Francis Loh Kok Wah, Andrew Aeria, Dan Slater, Simon Barraclough, Gordon P. Means and Diane Mauzy.

A selection of excerpts from some recent published work is provided in the annex (see below).

Unfortunately such accounts have been deliberately obliterated from national media coverage whilst the antics of Ibrahim Ali as well as diversionary issues are prominently broadcast and splashed in the papers. The commentaries of media sycophants focusing on the purported economic losses likely from traffic disruption (aren’t these columnists capable of finding better reasons to explain why the planned march should not take place!) are merely to hoodwink Malaysians whereas the more belligerent editorials resort to intimidation to discourage Bersih supporters marching.

Reading the independent and scholarly work on Malaysian elections should lead most in the country to conclude that the Bersih march has good reason to go ahead, if only to show to the rest of the world that BN’s claim of democratic elections has been one of the oldest – if not the oldest – lie in Malaysian politics.


Excerpts from recent academic writing on elections

“…Thus, the electoral system contained built-in advantages for the Malay community. There was no realistic possibility of a non-bumiputra party’s or coalition’s “going it alone” and winning an election. The only way for Chinese and Indian politicians to participate in government was by allying themselves with Malays, inevitably as junior partners. In practice, only two types of government could emerge from elections: an all-Malay government or a Malay dominated coalition…”

Crouch, Harold (1996)
Government and Society in Malaysia.
St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin Australia


“…Malaysia has institutionalised a semi-democratic political system. It does engage in elections, which provide for free choices, and the opposition has won seats. Yet the contest is not a fair one, given state dominance of the media, bias in government funding toward the incumbent BN, continuing electoral irregularities, and constituencies that are constructed to favour BN…”

Welsh, Bridget (2007)
‘Malaysia at 50: Midlife Crisis Ahead?’
Current History pp.106, 699


“…We have demonstrated how the Barisan Nasional has managed to perpetuate its rule through various forms of electoral manipulation and administrative repressions. On one hand, its initial electoral strengths have been entrenched through control of franchise, alternation of international and administrative boundaries, malapportionment and gerrymandering of electoral constituencies, controlled electoral campaigns and polling irregularities. On the other hand, political opposition is disempowered with infringement of civil and political liberties, extensive patronage networks and abuse of federal apparatus to suppress intergovernmental competition. The opposition state governments are discriminated against and in some cases overthrown through direct federal intervention, while the local elections which the ruling coalition had largely failed to win were outright terminated since 1965…”

Wong, Chin-Huat, Chin, James and Othman, Norani (2010)
‘Malaysia – towards a topology of an electoral one-party state’,
Democratization, 17: 5, 920- 949


“…In Malaysia, elections are not fair since basic political rights and civil liberties are restricted. Limitations to press freedom and to the right to associate and assemble, malapportionment, gerrymandering, and the financial advantages of the ruling parties are testimony to the systematic violation of fairness principles…”

Ufen, Andreas (2009)
‘The transformation of political party opposition in Malaysia and its implications for the electoral authoritarian regime’,
Democratization, 16:3, 604-627


“..On average in eleven general elections in Malaysia, the opposition wins 45 percent of the votes, but due to the limits on the opposition within the electoral system, through gerrymandering, malapportionment and the impact of a first-past-the post system, and constraints on political organization for the opposition, holds less than 15 percent of the seats in parliament. In the 2004 election the BN won 63.4 percent of the popular vote, but won 91 percent of the overall seats…”

Welsh, Bridget, Suffian, Ibrahim & Aeria, Andrew (2007)
‘Malaysia country report.’ Asian Barometer


“…All mainstream media are directly controlled by either the government, such as Radio and Television Malaysia (RTM), or by companies that have a close link with the BN’s top leadership, such as Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, TV3, and Ntv7. Their relationships with leadership make them favourable to the ruling BN…”

Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani (2009)
‘The Emergence of new politics in Malaysia
– from consociational to deliberative democracy.’
Taiwan Journal of Democracy, Vol. 5, No. 2: 97-125


“The Malaysian electoral system . . . [has been] so heavily loaded in favour of the government that it is hard to imagine that [it] . . . could be defeated in an election."

Crouch, Harold (1996)
Malaysian Government: Authoritarian Repression and Democratic Responsiveness.
Ithaca: Cornell University Press


“…Further, these iterative electoral victories have extended some legitimating cover for the government's often sly legislation, habitual amendments to the constitution, manipulation of standing orders and question time, and elevation of loyalists to the largely ceremonial upper house. In sum, while the government can claim that Malaysia holds the longest unbroken record of elections in the region, it has not been established competitively. As Tun Razak noted in 1971: "So long as the form is preserved, the substance can be changed to suit conditions of a particular country…"

Case, William (1996)
‘Can the "Halfway House’ stand?
Semi-democracy and elite theory in three Southeast Asian countries’. Comparative Politics, Vol. 28, No.4, pp.437-464


“…A further package of factors working in Umno’s favour included an electoral redistribution, changes to electoral laws, and a ‘cleansing’ of the electoral roll. An electoral redistribution carried out by the Election Commission (EC) added 26 seats to parliament, most in areas favourable to Umno in the south (Johor from 20 to 26, Selangor 17 to 22), and Sabah (20 to 25). The northern states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah had no additions. Furthermore, several seats in Kedah won by PAS in 1999 were reorganised with a higher proportion of non-Malay voters, making a repeat PAS victory unlikely.

“…Traditionally, not issues but the ‘three Ms’ – media, money and machinery – are the key determinants of Malaysian elections. (It used to be the ‘four Ms’, before Mahathir retired.) The BN controls all television and radio stations, and all major newspapers, either through its control of government or party ownership. It uses this control to sell the virtues of the BN, and denigrate the opposition. An independent voice does exist in the form of the online newspaper Malaysiakini. Some opposition parties and NGOs also have their own publications on the internet and/or in hard copy. But such publications cannot reach a large audience.

“…The most controversial aspect of the 2004 election campaign was its management by the EC. The elections were the most disorganised and contested ever. In some cases this may simply have reflected incompetence, but EC activities frequently provided direct benefits to the BN, as they had in the revisions of electoral boundaries and membership of the electoral roll.

In the face of very broad concern over EC activities its chairman proposed an independent inquiry into EC conduct. Prime Minister Abdullah quickly rejected this, telling the EC to conduct its own internal inquiry…”

Funston, J. (2006)
‘The Malay Electorate in 2004: Reversing the 1999 Result?’,
in Saw Swee-Hock and K. Kesavapany (ed.),
Malaysia: Recent Trends and Challenges,
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore, p. 313

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bersih 2.0 Press statement : Najib needs to protect human rights

The Prime Minister of Malaysia that his first and foremost duty is to protect the welfare and human rights of all Malaysians.

In light of this, Bersih 2.0 is deeply saddened and disappointed by YAB Najib Razak’s declaration that supporters of the Bersih 2.0 rally are to be held responsible should chaos ensue on the 9th of July.

At every stage, Bersih 2.0 has continuously repeated its firm commitment to completely peaceful and principled activism. Bersih 2.0 has always renounced violence in any way, shape or form, and consistently called upon others to adhere to the same values. Civil society has never once been responsible for turning a peaceful gathering into anything more.

In gathering peacefully on the 9th of July, Malaysians from all ethnic, religious and political backgrounds are exercising their constitutional right to have their voices heard in a democratic, non-violent manner.

Guaranteeing the safety of these patriotic citizens is in fact the responsibility of the government that the Prime Minister himself leads. We are glad that the Prime Minister has finally broken his silence regarding the 9th of July, but are disappointed that instead of fulfilling his government’s role as the protector of the constitutional rights and safety of peace loving Malaysians, he has chosen instead to misrepresent our intentions and wield the dark sceptre of unwarranted repressive “consequences”.

Bersih 2.0 is equally disappointed at the accusation that the purpose of Bersih 2.0 is to “wrest back political momentum from the BN.”

The Prime Minister must have either failed to have read and understood our stated goals, or is deliberately putting Bersih 2.0 in a misleading light. As a movement, we have no interest whatsoever in the political momentum of any political party – our goal is to make the electoral system truly free and fair so that all political parties in Malaysia, bar none, can contest on a level playing field, where the rakyat can freely choose whoever they think is best to lead them.

We have time and time again invited Barisan Nasional to be part of this process as we truly value the support of any and all groups to help bring about a more just Malaysia for all. We invite the government of the day to reject any paranoia, which may lead to the view that this movement disadvantages them in any way and instead walk with us towards bring about the badly needed changes expressed in our 8 points.

Indeed, this is the perfect opportunity for the Prime Minister to demonstrate the progressive views he has espoused both at home and abroad. He can conclusively do so simply by allowing the July 9th rally to proceed unhindered and by directing all government agencies to cooperate fully with all involved to ensure that that each and every Malaysian wishing to exercise their constitutional right may do so without any fear of clashes or chaos.

We feel that this would be the best use of the energies and resources of the police, who have continued to thoroughly perplex observers both locally and abroad by arresting patriotic, peace-loving Bersih 2.0 supporters for “waging war against the monarch”. Surely this stark and alarming lack of logic and common sense will further tarnish our nation’s image and contradict the values championed by the Prime Minister and his government.

We agree with the sentiment informing the Prime Minister’s statement that political power is in the hands of the people. However, it is our considered view that until comprehensive reforms are introduced into the electoral system to make it free and fair, political power will remain in the hands of a select few, and not Malaysians at large.

Bersih 2.0 is of the view that these two weeks will be a defining moment for the Prime Minister and his government. As the final authority in the government, any crackdown on civil society, refusal to guarantee the safety of Malaysians on July 9th, or rhetoric that unfairly demonises patriotic, peace loving citizens will be a tragic reflection of the failure of the Prime Minister to live up to their promises and the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Malaysian people.

Alternatively, for the Prime Minister to firstly, work together with Bersih 2.0 in pursuit of goals that are completely non-partisan and in accordance with the most basic of civil and human rights and secondly, guarantee a peaceful day free from violence of any sort on the 9th of July, will be the best possible demonstration of a firm commitment to the true spirit of 1Malaysia. We once again make an open, sincere and heartfelt call to the Prime Minister to walk with the rakyat, not against us.

Issued by Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee

Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, (Chairperson), Andrew Khoo, Arumugam K., Dr Farouk Musa, Haris Ibrahim, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, Zaid Kamaruddin, Subramaniam Pillay and Arul Prakkash.

How far is BN willing to go?

By Othman Wahab | TMI

The strong-arm tactics have started and the trumped-up charges have started to flow.

I can imagine the headlines in tomorrow’s papers: “30 detained for waging war against King” and “Group trying to revive communism.”

And of course, the name of Chin Peng will be all over. I must say the Najib administration and the police are quite “imaginative.” They have gone one step further than the dictators and autocrats in Algeria or Syria, reviving the bogey of communism.

This gambit is aimed directly at the Malay electorate, hoping that this story about waging war against a Malay Ruler and the spectre of communism will tarnish Bersih and perhaps create confusion among PAS supporters as well as convince Malays that they should steer clear of Bersih.

I mean so far the government has portrayed Ambiga Sreenivasan as anti-Islam and anti-Malay. Over the next few days, serious looking ministers will be quoted on the national security “threat” facing the country.

Of course, this is all wayang. The threat, if any, comes from the morally-bankrupt Umno. History is replete with dictators and autocrats using all sorts of bogeymen to stay in power. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is a master at this craft.

The biggest threat to our country comes from this collection of Umno politicians who want to cling to power. If innocent people need to be locked up, so be it. If people need to be fixed up, so be it. If fathers and mothers need to be detained, so be it.

This plot to revive communism is as plausible as the plan by Christians to take over Malaysia. (Also hatched by Umno). We are entering a dark period in Malaysian history but we should not despair.

Good always triumphs over evil. Always.

My Plea tweets to PM Najib, but he is not listening!

The Prime Minister has been telling the rakyat that he is willing to listen to the rakyat, hence his engaging the rakyat through FaceBook, Twitter, blogs and his going to the ground to meet them.

Since I have no opportunity to meet him personally, I tweet hoping that he will read and do the right thing.

The Bersih 2 rally which is supposed to be peaceful has now been turned into a political fight for survival, as far as umno is concerned with their daily onslaught on Bersih and the opposition.

I have been tweeting on Bersih rally after Ibrahim Ali's statement of threats and have pleaded to the PM to act fast before things turn ugly. Instead of seeking a win win solution, his latest statement today blaming Pakatan and the police statement that Bersih supporters are waging war against the King shock me to the core. I now realised that the PM is not interested to find a win win solution but persist to further cause discord granting opportunity for whatever action he is taking or going to.

Following are my tweets:

Is @NajibRazak statement a signal 4 perkasa & umno youth 2 create chaos? Mr. PM U know who r right & who R wrong & yet U singled #Bersih, PR
2 hours ago

Y is PM @NajibRazak blaming Pakatan & not Perkasa Ibrahim Ali who is the one who threaten the Chinese & chaos. Really losing fate in him.
2 hours ago

Plea 2 PM @NajibRazak Pls act b4 things got out of hand. Clamping down on the righteous & letting loose the extremists r simply wrong.
3 hours ago

Is PM @NajibRazak not doing anything 2 utusan & perkasa allowing them 2 continue to stir trouble and flush the 1Malaysia down the toilet?
3 hours ago

What is happening? Wearing yellow t-shirt can get u arrested. Is @NajibRazak aware of this or is he told that police r just doing their job
3 hours ago

Remember what u said @NajibRazak? RT @behlihyi what PM has said in Feb about protest&political reforms #Bersih @Ambiga_S
25 Jun

Rakyat wanted change, its up 2 umno @NajibRazak & PR @anwaribrahim @limkitsiang @nikabdulaziz how 2 but not I.Ali's ways of riots&bloodshed.
24 Jun

Obvious I.Ali is hell bent on creating chaos & blood shed, PM @NajibRazak must put a stop 2 it unless he agrees. Don't simply blame @bersih2
23 Jun

Appeal 2 PM @NajibRazak following @limkitsiang's invites 2 march with #Bersih, accept it if u truly believes yr 1Msia People First P' Now
21 Jun

If PM @NajibRazak & Ibra Ali love 2 play with fire pls play among yourselves, we Msians will not play with u nor r frighten by your stunt
20 Jun

Very sad that PM @NajibRazak could not handle perkasa and utusan for causing so much hate and threats of chaos among Malaysians!
19 Jun

Pakatan Rakyat’s 3 state targets in next general elections

By Lim Kit Siang

Pakatan Rakyat has three targets for the states in the next general elections, viz:

1) To retain the four Pakatan Rakyat states of Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Kelantan;

2) To win back Perak state government which was illegally, unconstitutionally and undemocratically robbed from the people and the Pakatan Rakyat; and

3) To form the state government in the six states of Negri Sembilan, Johore, Malacca, Pahang, Terengganu and Perlis.

The forthcoming 13th General Election will be the battle of the century as at stake will not only be the state governments of all the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia but federal power in Putrajaya as well.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is fully aware of the highest stakes involved in the next general elections, which is why he is so indecisive on the dates for the national polls, setting off repeated speculations as to when the next general elections would be held.

I think we can rule out the possibility of general elections in the third quarter of this year. The next general elections will be either at the end of this year or next year.

The 13th General Elections will be unprecedented, as it will be the first general election in the nation’s history where the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional under UMNO hegemony, will be facing a life-and-death battle.

In the last 12 general elections from 1959 to 2008, UMNO and the ruling coalition had gone into the hustings with supreme confidence, not only about retaining power but doing so with a great margin of victory.

In fact, there was not a single general election in the past five decades where UMNO had not contested with supreme confidence that it would be able to win power with comfortable two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Until the 308 “political tsunami” of the 2008 general elections when UMNO and Barisan Nasional suffered their worst electoral debacle, losing two-thirds parliamentary majority and clinging precariously to power thanks to the two “fixed deposit” states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Umno and BN will be fighting a “life-and-death” battle in the 13th General Election, not just about whether they can regain two-thirds parliamentary majority lost in 2008, but whether they could be returned to power or would have to occupy the Opposition benches for the first time in their experience.

This is why Najib reminded the Selayang UMNO division today that in a general election there is no such term as runner-up like in other contests, as either UMNO and BN retain power in Putrajaya or they are relegated to the Opposition benches.

This applies to the state elections and the state governments as well.

This is probably the reason why the UMNO and BN leaders are so panicky about the Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally on July 9 for fair, free and clean elections for they fear that Bersih 2.0 will be even more successful manifold than the first Bersih rally in 2007.

Najib is fully aware that a 5% swing in votes in the next general election as compared to the 2008 general election will see a Pakatan Rakyat government in Putrajaya and UMNO and Barisan Nasional taking their places in the parliamentary opposition benches. The same odds apply for the state elections as well.

However, Najib and his election strategists should realise that if the BN government decides to resort to high-handed, repressive and undemocratic measures to use the police to crack down on the peaceful Berish 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean general elections, they may be creating the very conditions which would ensure a 5% swing against UMNO and BN in the next general election – setting the stage for a change of federal power in Putrajaya for the first time in the nation’s history.

* Speech at the Teluk Intan DAP Anniversary Dinner held at San Min School hall, Teluk Intan on Saturday, June 25, 2011

Intelligent politicians, please

By Ali Kadir | TMI

Wanted: some individuals with some modicum of intelligence and competence to lead Malaysia.

Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie Apdal (among Umno’s best and brightest judging by fact that one is the second in line to govern the country and the other is the third in line) need not apply.

The two senior ministers are evidence of how hollow the ranks of leaders in Umno are. Today, Shafie Apdal gave credence to the line that it is best to keep silent and keep up the illusion of competence rather than open your mouth and shatter it.

Now everyone with primary education knows that the Bersih rally is about highligthing election fraud and forcing the government to play fair. This means that the current system is skewed and untrustworthy.

Easy to understand? Not for Shafie Apdal. He says that instead of demonstrating Pakatan Rakyat state governments in Kelantan, Penang, Selangor and Kedah should dissolve the state assemblies and contest the polls.

Now why would they do that when they don’t have trust in the fairness of the election system. It is precisely because of election fraud that the Pakatan Rakyat state governments know that they are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.

So for Shafie to offer this pearl of wisdom only means that he either chooses not to understand what Bersih is about or he is just plain unintelligent. But he does not have to worry very much about losing out to Muhyiddin. This politician is not the brightest spark in the room either.

He says that the government knows that the Bersih rally is all about politics. Wow, this is really enlightening.

And stuffing the ballot box, phantom voters and widening the base of postal voters is about what, exactly. Is it about keeping Muhyiddin, Shafie, Noh Omar, Hishammuddin Hussein, Khaled Nordin, Kong Chong Ha, Ng Yen Yen, Palanivel, Nazri Aziz employed?

The fact that is shocking is that not only do we have to deal with corruption, abuse of power. But we are asked to suffer fools.

We would not tolerate some of these people as our subordinates. Why are we letting them govern us?

BERSIH 2.0 Theme Song


Our Dream Is Just To Be FREE

BERSIH 2.0 Theme Song - FREEDOM (with lyrics)

BERSIH 2.0 Theme Song


Our Dream Is Just To Be FREE

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirt is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden?

By Lim Kit Siang

The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should stop the madness where a person can be detained by the police for wearing the Bersih 2.0 T-shirt, as if he/she is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden.

Last night, the police have started arresting people for wearing the Bersih 2.0 T-shirt.

This are tweets about the arrest in Shahj Alam last night:
@LatheefaKoya Baru dpt panggilan dari sdr Jonah, ditangkap krn memakai baju bersih, mempromosikan #bersih2.0 akan diambil kenyataan skang
@bersih2: Jonah: polis kata Tshirt #bersih mempromosikan bersih 2.0 yg merupakan hasutan

This is not the reaction of the police in a developed democracy but the response of a repressive and undemocratic government which is afraid of the voice of the people.

Hishammuddin should direct the police to end its hostile, combative, confrontational and repressive stance against the Bersih 2.0 rally on 9th July and to undergo a sea-change for the police to co-operate with the Bersih 2.0 organisers to ensure that the peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally is held successfully, – help by police in crowd control, resolve the traffic congestion in the Federal capital on that day and most important of all, ensure that no irresponsible group of persons are allowed to disrupt the peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally.

Many more people will turn up to support the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9 for free, fair and clean elections than the first Bersih rally in 2007 – in fact, a manifold increase which will be twice, thrice or higher multiple of the 2007 crowd of 40,000 to 50,000.

The many reasons why there will be a manifold increase in the number of people turning up to support the Berish 2.0 rally include:

1. Post “308” political tsunami, which has empowered Malaysians who want to reclaim their democratic right to help shape the future and destiny of the nation;

2. The Arab Spring and the Tahrir Square effect educating and motivating more Malaysians about their political rights to have a say in the national decision-making process through peaceful and democratic means;

3. World-wide and regional movement for change, including the recent Singapore general election results demonstrating that although the Singapore PAP Government had delivered on economic development, the cries of Singaporeans for participatory democracy and consultative form of governance cannot be ignored.

4. Utter disgust with the politics of intimidation and double-standards, the former typified by the provocative, incendiary, inflammatory and seditious threats of another May 13 by Perkasa President, Ibrahim Ali and the latter by the inaction, connivance and complicity of the Home Minister in failing to take action to prosecute Ibrahim Ali for grave crimes against the people and state of Malaysia.

5. The greater awareness that Malaysians must stand up to speak in clear and unequivocal terms that they want electoral reforms if the next 13th General Elections is to be free, fair and clean.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should embrace the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean elections not to demonstrate his democratic credentials but even more important, to show to the nation and the world that Malaysia is now in the ranks of developed democracies in handling mass public gatherings and the people’s right to freedom of expression.

If 150,000 people could hold a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong on June 4 to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre 22 years ago and to stand up for democracy and the rule of law, is Malaysia more backward than China in respecting peaceful public protests?

If tens and hundreds of thousands of people can gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo to usher in the Arab Spring, which won the praise of many Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders, is Malaysia more backward than the Arabian countries in upholding democracy and the rule of law?

I still remember the monster rallies on Feb. 15 and 16, 2003 where 10 to 30 million people demonstrated worldwide in some 60 countries against the war in Iraq, with Rome entering the Book of Records with the largest anti-war rally in history (three million people) followed by Madrid with 1.5 million people!

The Malaysian Prime Minister at the time and other UMNO leaders had praised these worldwide anti-war peaceful protests. Why, then, are the Umno and BN leaders in the year 2011 so silent and not prepared to help to ensure the successful holding of a peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean elections especialoly if it is to set a new record in Malaysia for crowd turnout?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bersih 2.0 9th July : We Will Carry ON - Video

Bersih facebook page:

Go to Bersih website for latest updates and upcoming Road Shows

Video top comment:

by micdan90 : YEAH, Malaysia for a revolution!!! IT's high time the government listens to its people. "People should not be afraid of their governments, Governments should be afraid of its people", V for vendetta. The more power the government attains via its people, the severe peoples rights will be trampled by the government. People, us Malaysians, should show the sops in power that we have the ultimatum and the power to reprimand them.

Bersih 2.0: Why I will march

By June Lubis | TMI

We can only look back at our past to recognise the pivotal points that have brought us to where we are today.

Today, I am blessed to have a boss who supports and shares the same passions as I do: playing a role in strengthening civil society in Malaysia, along with wildlife conservation and rural community-based initiatives.

I particularly look forward to her mentorship as she has played a very significant leadership role in Green Surf, a home-grown Sabah coalition that successfully fought to stop a coal power plant being built in the state.

I count back the years that has brought me to this point.

It is easy to pinpoint my early interest in conservation and environment work: a childhood memory of watching a documentary of a solitary female researcher slogging her way through a Borneo rainforest searching for orangutans (like bells ringing in my head, telling me that this would be me one day — the bells later proved right) to being fascinated by the Greenpeace protests in Sarawak in the 1990s.

I did not understand why foreigners would care so much about rainforests so far away from their homeland. I did not understand why the local newspapers were so hostile towards the protestors, to the point of making negative personal commentaries about their weight and looks.

My initial confusion made me question what I had thought was truth. That everything I read and hear from other people is not necessarily the absolute truth, but rather a semblance of truth from their unique perspective and experiences.

Yet my political awareness only fully emerged at a later stage.

I connect those dots back to my participation in the 2007 Bersih march.

It was probably the first time I had felt very proud as a Malaysian, to be surrounded by so many of my compatriots seeking a change in our electoral system that we feel is unfair and not representative of a democracy that our country is built upon.

It was the beginnings of a personal stirring to learn more about the political issues beyond my home state of Sarawak. Indeed to march along other Malaysians who felt as strongly as I did was inspiring and gave me courage to continue exploring other sensitive issues.

There has been much furore over the past week about the upcoming Bersih 2.0 march. A lot of it has been emotional, and hurtful, no matter what race or religion we belong to.

No one with a decent heart and a sane mind likes to have an ethnic community singled out either to be blamed or condemned for their apparent participation in the march. Your brother is my brother, your sister my sister. When you try to hurt others, you only end up hurting yourself.

Like in 2007, I intend to participate for I support the eight demands as listed out by the organisers of the march for freer and fairer elections.

This year, it is particularly poignant for me, as a Sarawakian, for it was the alleged abuses in the last state election that had prompted the call to revive Bersih 2.0.

Even if you don’t believe in the money politics that took place in the last state election, or worse yet, think money politics is what elections is all about, you cannot deny the very basic fact that the non-Barisan Nasional component parties had no free and fair access to the mainstream media. One of the eight calls of Bersih 2.0 for the Election Commission to rectify.

And that is one out of many legitimate grouses made not just by political parties, but also civil society.

At the end of the day, to me, it does not matter what political party is in power, but rather those in power are reminded of and humbled by the immense responsibility placed on them. I fear that those who tricked and paid their way towards political power will not have these values in check. By coming into power with arrogance, they will continue to lead us with arrogance.

The eight calls of Bersih 2.0, if implemented, will help give us more representatives that we seek, no matter what political parties they hail from.

We want statesmen who will lead us with honour and honesty, not politicians who burn images and threaten our communities.

So what role will I play come July 9?

Could this be a pivotal point in not just our personal lives, but our country’s?

And 10 or 20 years from now, when we look back and ponder how Malaysia was brought to this fine point, where hopefully we have made leaps and bounds towards advancing national social consciousness for a government that truly represents us, could we then say to ourselves, I played a small role that one fine day?

This is why I intend to march.

Bersih rally – chill down BN’s spine

By Jeswan Kaur | FMT

There is something about the July 9 rally to be held by election watchdog Bersih 2.0 that has left the Barisan Nasional (BN) government shivering in its pants. Otherwise, there would be no reason for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his bandwagon of cronies to become jittery over what is planned to be a “Walk for Democracy”.

The squirming by BN, Perkasa and Umno Youth is self-explanatory – after all, it is this very government that has all along been squashing democracy in this country, manipulating election results, be they by-elections or general elections.

So, the government is instead using business entities in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and also taxi operators to vehemently protest against the rally, claiming it would bring losses to their businesses.

The many police reports lodged against the rally by Najib’s cronies is another attempt at stifling the coalition’s attempt to redeem the tainted image of the electoral system.

Meanwhile, Perkasa, the ultra Malay wing, and Umno Youth have both announced that they too would hold their rallies simultaneously with the “Walk for Democracy”, purportedly, as a form of damage control and to mitigate the harm Bersih 2.0 would do on July 9.

For the uninitiated, Bersih or the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections was established in 2006 by opposition parties and civil society organisations to pursue clean and fair elections. However, the leadership decided to transform the coalition into a purely civil society movement, doing away with political involvement, renaming it Bersih 2.0.

The coalition comprises 62 non-governmental organisations, with Empower (Selangor Community Consciousness Society) and Hakam (National Human Rights Society) taking the lead role.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson, lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan, has assured the government that the rally’s objective is to champion electoral reforms in a peaceful manner. The walk would end with the handing over of a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

But Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has warned the public against participating in rallies organised by both Bersih 2.0 and Perkasa.

However, before jumping the gun, could Hishammuddin explain why Ambiga, the former Bar Council president, was barred from entering Sarawak to observe its state election held on April 16?

She was among several activists who were denied entry into Sarawak and forced to return home from the airport, on orders of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Predictably, BN won the majority in Sarawak and Taib, president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) , was once again sworn in as chief minister, having ruled the state for 30 years, that too no less as a dictator.

Prohibiting Ambiga from setting foot in Sarawak has left little room for BN to deny claims of corrupt practices. Otherwise, what valid reasons did Taib and BN have in sending Ambiga and the other activists back home?

BN’s skeletons no longer hidden

The BN government under Najib is having sleepless nights after Bersih 2.0 announced the “Walk for Democracy” rally because BN’s corrupt ways of running the country is now being questioned by the people.

Najib’s insecurity comes from knowing the threat Bersih 2.0 poses to BN in trying to wrestle back power from the opposition. The hard truth on how corruption is deeply embedded within BN as exposed by Bersih 2.0 has jeopardised Najib’s chances at the ballot boxes.

When BN won the Sarawak state election in April, revelations came about that it was achieved via money politics.

A FMT reader commented that during the Sarawak state election, old folks from Kampung Long Luyamg were enlisted as Rela members and given RM50 as allowance and “reminded” to vote for BN.

Just as disturbed over the wrongdoings taking place during the election is Aliran (English language news medium).

Commenting on Taib’s high-handed approach in barring Ambiga and other activists from observing the Sarawak state polls, Aliran president P Ramakrishnan said: “This undemocratic act of the authorities patently criminalises the right of a Malaysian citizen to conduct legitimate political activities in the country. It frowns upon any citizenry’s attempt to ensure a playing field that is as level as it should be. It demeans the democratic process and vilifies people of good character who mean well for the country.

“It also suggests to what extent a desperate regime under threat will go to in order to protect its narrow vested interests even if it means having to violate basic democratic and constitutional rights of the citizenry.”

Ramakrishnan urged the Election Commission (EC) to investigate the blatant disregard for a free and fair election and the free movement of the people.

With all this arm-twisting undertaken by BN, dare Najib say that democracy is alive and kicking in Malaysia?

Bersih has no hidden agenda

Bersih 2.0 does have an “agenda”, but unlike BN, it is not hidden. For this coalition, its coming rally is a move to counter the BN government’s inertia against its 11 demands for electoral reforms.

They include complete revision of the electrical roll; using indelible ink in elections; reform of postal voting; free and fair media access to all contesting parties; minimum campaign period of 21 days; and fair and professional constituency redelineation.

The other demands are: automatic registration of all eligible voters; lowering the voting age from 21 to 18; reform in electoral financing rules to ensure transparency; administrative neutrality of all levels of government and affirming the political right of all students, 18 years and above.

For the first time Bersih 2.0 is demanding better scrutiny of election financing and reduction in the voting age. Ambiga said Malaysia was lagging behind countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Timor Leste where the voting age is 18. For Indonesia, its voting age has gone to as low as 17.

Ambiga had said in April that Bersih received overwhelming complaints on the alleged discrepancies that took place in the Sarawak state election. Yet, the EC failed to carry out its responsibility accordingly.

The obviously annoyed Ambiga then asked the top EC officials to resign for failing to deal with the irregularities in the Sarawak election.

“I believe it is the personal responsibility of each commissioner to search his conscience and see whether he… should resign as a show of protest,” she told a press conference held then.

Polls observers and opposition leaders had claimed that bribery and intimidation were rife during the April 16 Sarawak election. They claimed the EC had failed to curb them and were partial towards the ruling coalition, often overlooking “blatant abuses and violation” of election laws.

Calling a spade, a spade

In her unequivocal stand, Ambiga said public confidence in the EC was fast eroding, with the people perceiving the commission as a political tool of the ruling coalition.

“Under the Federal Constitution, the appointment of top EC officials is made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and it has to be composed of people with impeccable credentials.

“In other words, you must be courageous, you must be independent, you must be prepared to call a spade a spade, you must be prepared to speak whether it is in relation to the party in power or the opposition,” the gutsy Ambiga said.

The EC expectedly denied any wrongdoings and claimed that its conduct was professional and done “by the book”.

Ambiga has reassured Najib and his “henchmen” that as far as Bersih 2.0 is concerned, all would go well during its “Walk for Democracy” on July 9.

If riot erupts on July 9, one could bet that the troublemakers would be from the BN fold, out to stop Bersih 2.0 from raising public awareness on how severely maligned EC is and the manipulations, cronyism, nepotism and corruption that serve as tools for BN to secure victory, both in by-elections and the general elections.

Ambiga receives SMS death threat

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal | TMI

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has received a death threat via text message which was also sent this morning to reporters and some members of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih).

The text message warned Ambiga as well as PAS and PKR leaders from going ahead with the July 9 Bersih rally, and said her life would be in jeopardy should it (the rally) proceed.

“Korg ni buta hati ke?? buat apa sokong ambiga keling paria haramjadah tu? dia ni kapir laknat. korang tau tak dia ni jadi alat anjing2 politik untuk musnahkan keutuhan melayu. dia kata je nak BERSIH kan SPR. bersih kepala bapak dia. puak2 PAS n PKR pun buta tuli n pekak badak.. kalau SPR tak bersih, boleh ke diorang menang kat Sgor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan n perak dulu?

“DAP cina sial tu pulak lagi haram jahanam. dia tengok je melayu bertekak. hujung2 dia perintah negara ni dan kristiankan kita semua. aku nak kasi amaran kat korang semua. kalau perhimpunan ni jadi, aku dan org2 aku akan bunuh ambiga dan korang2 keliling dia satu persatu, termasuklah orang2 politik bangang yang bersekongkol ngan kafir laknat tu.. ini amaran aku. Korang tengok nanti.”

(Are you people blind? Why would you support that pariah keling Ambiga? She is an infidel. Don’t you know that she is a toll of those political dogs who are out to destroy the strength of the Malays. She is just saying she wants to clean up the Bersih election, she should clean up her father’s head. And the PAS, PKR leaders, they are deaf, dumb, blind and illiterate. If the EC is not clean then how did they win Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Perak? The damned Chinese DAP are even more despicable. They just watch the Malays go at each other’s throats. In the end, they will rule the country and turn all of us into Christians.)

Ambiga has confirmed that she will be lodging a police report on the matter today.

The first rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s streets before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannons.

The 2007 rally has been credited for the Pakatan Rakyat’s record gains in Election 2008, where the opposition pact swept to power in five states and won 82 parliamentary seats.

PAS has promised to bring 100,000 protestors this year in hopes that it will galvanise support for the opposition in the next general election, which is expected to be called within a year.

But Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has repeatedly warned of police action against the illegal gatherings, saying yesterday that the organisers of all three rallies will be summoned to Bukit Aman.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bersih 2.0 9th July 2pm - Yellow is the New Black / Video Update

Updated with video
Don't Be Afraid, jom turun Bersih

Calling for a Fair and Clean Election is not a threat to the nation. It is only those who are KOTOR that are afraid of being Bersih.

This video was dropped into my mailbox and requested that it be shared. The nation's future lies with the youth of today and they need to do something to make it work.


Democracy is the Government of the people, by the people, for the people

Bersih 2.0’s fair and just demands

By Toh Kin Woon | TMI

In recent weeks, many negative, unfair and unreasonable statements have been made against Bersih 2.0. Some of these bordered on vicious personal attacks, in particular against its Chairperson, the highly respected Ambiga Sreenevasan. These attacks arose following the announcement by, and firm commitment of, the entire Steering Committee to hold a peaceful walk to demand for electoral reform and upholding of democracy on 9 July. As a member of Bersih 2.0’s Steering Committee, I feel duty bound to come to its defence.

Allow me first to reiterate the overall objective of our coalition, which is to help the Election Commission realise its noble goal of conducting elections that are fair and clean. All will agree that the attainment of this goal is a must, if Malaysia is to be a fully developed country. Apart from high income, a just and democratic electoral system is an important institution of a first world country.

Unfortunately, the way elections have been conducted in our country up till now leaves much to be desired. Many weaknesses in the process and conduct of elections still remain. Some of these include an electoral roll that is still full of defects; campaign periods that are far too short to allow all contesting parties to effectively disseminate their stands and positions on various issues to the voters; unequal and uneven access to the media, especially state-owned broadcasting; the refusal to use indelible ink in order to eliminate the possibility of multiple voting; and disenfranchisement of many citizens who are resident overseas. The result is that electoral outcomes may not be a full, clear and accurate expression of public will.

In a bid to help move our country towards making our elections fairer and cleaner, Bersih 2.0 has therefore asked via its 8 demands that these weaknesses and defects be overcome and measures further strengthening the electoral system be adopted. Among these are cleaning up the voters list, the use of indelible ink, a minimum campaign period of 21 days, automatic registration of voters, reform of postal voting, equal access to state owned broadcasting and the media, wiping out corruption and the strengthening of public institutions. Bersih 2.0’s goal is simple, which is to help install a system of elections that is beyond reproach and whose outcomes unchallengeable. It is therefore a surprise to many that this good and innocuous goal should meet with so much contest and opposition.

Some, however, would claim that they are not so much contesting and opposing our demands as the way we press for their realisation via the holding of the walk on July 9. All kinds of reasons have been put forward to stall the walk. It will disrupt business, cause massive traffic jams and even create chaos and disorder, so claim the walk opponents. For a start, we have reiterated many a times that our walk will be peaceful. If, in addition, the police come in to lend a hand by controlling and managing traffic, I see no reason why any of these concerns will happen. Indeed this was the case with some recent events, such as the holding of a peaceful protest against the putting up of the Lynas Advanced Materials plant in Pahang, which was organised in Kuala Lumpur. Likewise, countries such as Hong Kong have witnessed even more massive demonstrations and yet they are still prosperous. Besides, there is such a thing called freedom of assembly which is one of the tenets of our Federal Constitution. Opponents of the walk will do well to respect this basic right, failing which all calls for the creation of a highly developed country will come to naught.

Finally, may I appeal to all who are engaged in this discourse to look at the core matter of clean and fair elections. Unfortunately, however, many of those opposed to Bersih 2.0’s big rally on July 9 have chosen to divert from it. Instead they have chosen to launch vicious personal attacks against its Chairperson and even blamed Bersih 2.0 for the recent hacking of government websites. All these are clearly off the mark and are not part of rational debate that we should be engaged in.

Dr Toh Kin Woon is a member of Bersih 2.0’s steering committee

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

99% support for Bersih rally in ‘Star’ poll

June 21st and today is my 58th Birthday. This is the best gift that I have ever received and today I am a very happy man.


A staggering 99 percent of slightly more than one million respondents in a poll by The Star Online have indicated support for the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9.

The actual number of respondents cannot be confirmed as the poll was taken down about noon today.

According to a screen capture taken by a Facebook user, the number of respondents had hit 1.3 million at 12.25pm from 527,330 recorded at 6.11am today, according to a Google Cache snapshot of the website.

To the question ‘What is your view on the proposed Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9?’, 1,312,917 respondents answered ‘It should be allowed to go on’ as at 12.25pm.

The other option – ‘It should be cancelled’ – was selected by 14,222 respondents.

The poll was discussed with great interest by users of the Curi-curi Wang Malaysia Facebook page, which was set up recently in protest against Tourism Malaysia for spending RM1.8 million on a social media campaign.

However, jubilance turned to scorn when they realised that the poll had been taken down.

Twists and turns

The Bersih 2.0 rally seeks to create awareness for meaningful reform to the electoral system and will petition for intervention by the Agong.

Government officials have claimed that the electoral system is not flawed and accused opposition parties of masquerading in the guise of a NGO coalition to stoke public anger.

The Election Commission (EC) claimed that it has been made a scapegoat in the matter, but offered a dialogue with Bersih 2.0 if it calls off the rally.

However, Bersih 2.0 yesterday maintained that it will proceed with the rally as previous meetings with the EC had come to naught.

Bersih 2.0 is also challenging the EC to reveal the list of recommendations submitted to the federal government to improve the electoral system.

Monday, June 20, 2011

BERSIH Must March On

Any attempt by police or any quarter to disrupt a peaceful rally of such noble intention will be construed as a serious breach of the Constitution and will not be taken kindly by peace-loving Malaysians.

By Kim Quek

A peaceful rally calling for electoral reform would have gone down as almost a non-event in any democracy, but not in Malaysia. Here, the news of such an impending rally has virtually caused the incumbent ruling power to go into a state of panic.

Ever since the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections – a civil society movement known as BERSIH – calls for a peaceful rally on July 9 to press for electoral reform, hardly a day goes by without some bigwigs pressing the panic button, as if calamities will befall the nation if such a rally were to take place.

Home minister has warned of dire consequences to political and economic stability, Umno’s ultra-racist wing Perkasa has called for a rally of its own to crush the BERSIH rally, police chief has warned BERSIH of preventive arrest, and hundreds of reports have been lodged with the police by Umno and its associated bodies to oppose such a rally.

And now, the latest, Deputy Prime Minister Muyhiddin Yassin called the BERSIH rally an opposition plot to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government when he officiated a local Umno annual meeting in Beaufort, Sabah on June 18.

(BERSIH had earlier extended invitation to all political parties including ruling BN and opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR), as well as NGOs and activists to participate in this mass movement to restore integrity to the Malaysian electoral system, which has been hopelessly corrupted to favour the incumbent ruling coalition. While PR component parties have accepted the invitation, BN has not.)


Muhyiddin debunked BERSIH’s agitation for reform by citing opposition’s impressive electoral gain in the 2008 general election as proof of the electoral system’s fairness.

He asked: “If it is not free and fair, how could they make such electoral gains? If they win they keep quiet, and if they lose, they claim unfairness. I think their motive is to have a short cut to Putrajaya.”

Equating opposition’s electoral win as proof of the system’s fairness has become BN’s standard answer to fence off rising condemnation of BN’s massive abuses that have gone from bad to worse.

But such argument is as illogical as it is laughable. Whether an election is fair should be determined by the conditions under which the election is conducted, factors such as the presence or absence of an impartial the election commission and the existence or non-existence of a level playing field. It should never be determined by whether a contestant has won or lost.

Malaysian elections are so notoriously unleveled that one should have no hesitation to conclude that PR would have been swept to power in the 2008 election if there was free and fair election, considering the fact that the popular vote was virtually split at 50-50.


How can anyone consider Malaysian elections fair when the election commission is unabashedly acting as ruling coalition BN’s virtual agent, and the entire mass media of the country (with the exception of the Internet) serve as BN’s propaganda machines to the complete exclusion of PR?

Since the 2008 election, BN’s election bribery has gone from covert to overt, famously dramatized by none other than Prime Minister Najib Razak himself when he publicly attempted to buy votes by offering instant cash aid to the tune of millions of ringgit subject to a BN win in two successive by-elections (Hulu Selangor and Sibu).

Strangely, or rather shockingly, while the video clip of this drama had been watched by a worldwide audience via Youtube, the presiding judge (Azahar Mohamed) threw out a subsequent election petition to nullify the Hulu Selangor by-election result on the ground of “lack of evidence”.

When even the court sanctioned such open bribery committed by the top leader of the ruling coalition, the floodgate for all kinds of corruption, intimation and abuse of authority was virtually thrown wide open to work in BN’s overwhelming advantage. And this is exactly what happened in the recently concluded Sarawak state elections, where BN swept to a landslide victory on the twin strategy of bribery and intimidation.


Under these circumstances, BERSIH ought to be commended for its gallant and timely move to call for a mass rally whereby a petition will be delivered to the King to put a stop to the election system that has been turned into a complete mockery of democracy.

Among BERSIH’s reform proposals are: prohibition of vote-buying of any form, restoration of independence and impartiality to enforcing bodies on election offences, fair media access to all contesting parties, reform of the current dubious postal voting system and cleanse the electoral roll that is fraught with irregularities and phantom voters.

It will be seen from these proposals that the current BERSIH move is not only not a threat to national interests, but a most reasonable and logical proposition to save democracy and restore justice and decency to a country where the state institutions have been pervasively perverted by BN’s prolong autocratic misrule.

With regards to police’s avowed refusal to grant permit to the rally, we have to respectfully advice the police that they have no authority to obstruct such a peaceful rally. Freedom of assembly is a constitutional right guaranteed to all citizens, and the role of the police in such an event is to ensure that peace prevails throughout the rally.

Any attempt by police or any quarter to disrupt a peaceful rally of such noble intention will be construed as a serious breach of the Constitution and will not be taken kindly by peace-loving Malaysians.

Be assured that Malaysians will not back down or compromise on such important principles as the right to have free and fair election and the right to have freedom of assembly.

Kim Quek is the author of The March to Putrajaya. The book was banned by the Home Ministry and Kim is now suing the government to get the ban lifted.

GE-13: July 10 nomindation day poser and 60 ways to hurt Malaysia

Will Malaysians only wake up when it is too late?

By Selena Tay | Malaysia Chronicle

One of the teachings in Sun Tzu's Art Of War says that what cannot be won by confrontation must be won by stealth.

This is very true. And there are many in the Pakatan Rakyat camp who say this typifies their BN rivals. Those who know they may not win the general election by fair means may opt to win by foul means.

And giiven the rash and irrational manner that BN boss, UMNO and its cohorts like Perkasa, are rushing headlong to stop the Bersih 2.0 rally, speculation has spread to the man in the street.

Walk into a warong or kopi-tiam that litter the nation. This is what the people are saying and it is the fastest-spreading rumour in town.

Nomination day for GE-13 will be July 10 - one day after the July 9 Bersih 2.0 anti-election fraud rally.

Why? Obviously, they said, it is a BN sprung trap to disable all the Opposition leaders who participated in the July 9th rally to be arrested. Whether or not under the Internal Security Act does not matter, the object is to delay them from making it to the nomination centres the next day.

If this happens, BN candidates will win uncontested. BN can win the whole election by default or as some Pakatan leaders have warned, "steal the whole GE from right under our noses".

This may seem cheeky but the truth is often stranger than fiction. The most telling thing is that, if the ordinary Joes and Josephinas are thinking such things of their government-of-the-day, what a shameful reflection for that government.

It is also a stark warning that citizens no longer trust that government? Will the people also embark on the next step?

Will the rakyat or populace of Malaysia arise and do in Dataran Merdeka what the Egyptians did in Tahrir Square?

Uncivilized, unethical and undemocratic no longer make the cut

As Bersih 2.0 has pointed out, elections are useless if they are manipulated by the Election Commission, whose chairman often behaves as if he is the personal bodyguard for the Najib administration. So loyal and determined to please UMNO, he seems to be!

Nonetheless, since 1957, the BN has ruled with a fist of iron and its divide-and-rule Policy has kept the 3 major races apart.

Now with the advent of globalization and the Internet, Malaysia is finding it tough to compete on the world's stage as old methods no longer make the cut and are viewed with contempt instead.

Malaysia has to keep abreast with new values in order to be a cutting-edge trading nation and not regress into being a backwater Third World regime that plays host to filthy industries, foundries and health hazards like rare-earth refinineries and plants.

All this is possible only with a 'new' Malaysian government bringing in new methods and new innovations. This 'new' government can be in the form of a fully-reformed and renewed BN or the Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Uncivilized, unethical and undemocratic iron-fisted ways are no longer relevant in this New Age of the New Millennium celebrated 11 years ago. Malaysia is already 11 years late and therefore there is no time to tarry or be tardy any longer.

Regardless, GE-13 is this year or next, change is at hand.

Before we embark on the next step, let us review through the list below - by no means exhaustible - all the things that have gone wrong and are still wrong in the Malaysian system.

The list of ills: 60 and growing

1. PKFZ (Port Klang Free Zone) Scandal - more than RM12.5 billion incurred and counting

2. Scorpene submarines - costing approximately RM7.6 billion

3. Commission for the Scorpene submarine - RM500 million

4. Loss of Bumiputera equity - RM52 billion

5. Limbang offshore blocks L and M given to Brunei - RM320 billion

6. Bank Negara Forex loss - RM6 billion

7. Perwaja Steel Scandal - RM15 billion

8. 60,000 Approved Permits given to UMNO-linked firms - worth RM2.4 billion

9. BMF Scandal (Carrian group) - RM4 billion

10. Double-tracking railway project from Ipoh to southern Thailand - RM12.5billion

11. Purchase of 6 EMU locomotives - irregularity at a cost of RM500 million

12. Sudden petrol price hike of RM0.79 sen in June 2008

13. Khir Toyo's mansion - RM24 million

14. Menara Warisan or mega-tower - RM5 billion

15. Bail-out of GLCs and BN's crony-corporations - too massive and too many

16. Anwar's black-eye incident (beaten up by police while in prison)

17. Jensen Chia Buang Hing (he was also beaten up police - December 2010)

18. Altantuya Shariibuu (mother of two, murdered, blown to bits by C4)

19. Teoh Beng Hock (MACC deathfall vitcim)

20. Kugan Ananthan (only 22, but the cops beat him until his kidneys failed)

21. Aminulrasyid (15-years old, but shot by cops)

22. Prime Minister Najib Razak's aide Nasir Safar's statement: "Chinese came here to sell their bodies and Indians came to beg"

23. BiroTata Negara deputy director Hamim Husin's statement: Chinese are "si mata sepet" and Indians "si botol"

24. Missing jet engines (stolen directly from under the airforce's nose)

25. Perak illegal and undemocratic power-grab in February 2009: Remember Perak, remember the Injustice!

26. Dr Mahathir,Taib Mahmud, Musa Aman, Daim Zainuddin and other BN politicians

27. Lingam-gate Scandal: Correct, correct, correct or Korek, korek, korek

28. Sodomy I and Sodomy II trials

29.Stamping of Bibles: ' Bible smelly' said Hishammuddin and 'Christian-state' false news from Utusan and Umno bloggers

30. Perkasa, Pembela: Increasingly anarchist stance due to the lack of punishment by the authorities

31. PSD scholarships fiasco

32. Datuk T trio and the sex video

33. Cow-head protests, vandalism at churches and mosques

34. 1 Malaysia email granted to 'broke' firm Tricubes Bhd (GN3 company)

35. Stadium roof collapse in Terengganu

36. Prison break-out in 2011: More than 100 illegals escaped from detention centres

37. Death of crimebuster and Penang's top cop, Albert Mah (burglars who slashed him to death were never apprehended)

38. Flip-flop of key education policy in the teaching of Maths and Science in English

39. BERSIH 2.0 Rally: To demand for free and fair elections

40. Anti-ISA Rally

41. Water Rally (to demand that the government returns water rights to the rakyat)

42. Eye-on-Malaysia Ferris Wheel (white elephant in Melaka)

43. Bukit Merah-Papan rare earth tragedy in Perak (MItsubishi) and now Gebeng in Pahang (Lynas)

44. Bakun Dam (destruction of environment, displaced peoples)

45. Female nude-squats - November 2005 and June 2011

46. Sedition Act

47. ISA (Internal Security Act)

48. OSA (Official Secrets Act)

49. PPPA (Printing Presses and Publications Act)

50. Kazakhstan engagement party for daughter: Did PM Najib and wife Rosmah use public funds?

51. Abuse of the New Economic Policy/Dasar Ekonomi Baru

52. Buying of votes in 10th Sarawak State Elections in April 2011

53. No Minimum Wage Policy for workers

54. No media coverage for Opposition parties during election campaigns

55. Wasted money spent on 1Million Youths Gathering - more than RM25 million - May 2011

56. Hike in Electricity Tariffs on June 1, 2011 and more upcoming hikes in sugar, diesel and petrol

57. Asian Petroleum Hub in Johor - RM1.4billion, now in receivership

58. Various Malaysian corridors started by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi now empty, unutilised and vacant

59. Churning out acronyms, i.e. NEM, GTP, ETP, EPP, NKRA, NKEA, and TEM (Terrible Economic Management - this one is given by the rakyat)

60. Constant price hikes especially in basic necessities and foodstuffs: Implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) soon to come

The list serves to remind Malaysians that never before in Malaysian history is so much at stake.

Indeed, Armageddon is approaching. The battle is at hand.

Will Malaysians only wake up when it is too late?


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