Visitors to Kuala Lumpur in late April should be aware that the city is bracing itself for what could be one of the largest political demonstrations in its history. A massive sit-down protest is planned at Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) on Saturday the 28th, from 14:00 to 16:00, to call for free and fair elections in Malaysia.
It is the third mass rally called by a coalition of NGOs known as Bersih (“clean” in Malay) over recent years, pushing for an end to an electoral system riddled with serious irregularities. Bersih has eight key demands: clean up the electoral roll; reform the postal ballot; use indelible ink for voters; a minimum 21-day campaign period; free and fair access to media; strengthen public institutions; stop corruption; and stop dirty politics.
The last mass protest, Bersih 2.0 in July 2011, saw a heavy-handed response from the authorities, with the police using baton charges, water cannons and tear gas. Dozens of people were injured, and about 1,600 arrested.
A Community of Malaysians who live and/or work in Singapore and united by our love for Malaysia
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil (better known by its Bahasa Malaysia name “BERSIH”) issued its first joint communiqué on 23 November 2006.
At its formation, BERSIH comprised civil society organisations and political parties with the objective of campaigning for clean and fair elections in Malaysia.
BERSIH’s journey thus far has been both monum…ental and memorable. The public demonstrations of November 2007, which saw thousands of ordinary Malaysians take to the streets in support of clean and fair elections, was a critical juncture in our nation’s electoral journey.
Bersih 2.0 came about because 2 years later, the aims of BERSIH continued to be relevant.
The time has now come for BERSIH to continue its crusade for clean and fair elections independent of any political party. BERSIH is thus being re-launched as BERSIH 3.0, a coalition of like minded civil society organisations unaffiliated to any political party.
As the government and the regulatory bodies continue to ignore the call for free and fair elections, we too continue, unabated and unafraid, to call for the same.