Bersih 2.0 will not be distracted from fight for democratic reforms

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Bersih 2.0 is deeply disappointed with how the incident of a small group of protesters stepping on a picture of Prime Minister Najib Razak and Abdul Hadi Awang is being played up by certain quarters.

Bersih 2.0 again conveys our regret over the incident and recognises that such actions were insulting and caused hurt to parts of Malaysian society, but stresses that to step on pictures of political leaders is not a crime.

The racial slurs hurled against Bersih 4 participants and organisers are without basis and are an attempt to move the discourse away from corruption and the need for accountable governance to a racial spat, which is beneath all Malaysians.

Bersih 2.0 rejects the attempts by certain quarters to distract from the true essence of the Bersih 4 rally, in which 500,000 people took to the streets over two days to demand democratic reforms.

Bersih 2.0 is committed to pressuring members of parliament to implement the following institutional and legal changes:

  • Ensure clean elections: To fight against all electoral manipulations and for the reform of the Election Commission.
  • Uphold clean government: Stop the concentration of power in the hands of the executive, by giving more powers and independence to parliament, the MACC and the attorney feneral’s office. The prime minister should not hold the post of finance minister; ministers and senior government officials should publicly declare their assets; and freedom of information laws should be enacted.
  • Protect the right to dissent: Repeal or amend draconian laws, such as the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.
  • Strengthen parliamentary democracy by ensuring clean elections, clean government and the right to dissent.
  • Save the economy by strengthening the integrity and independence of public institutions.

Bersih 2.0 reiterates that, while it is regrettable that the picture-stomping took place, we must not forget the vast majority of Malaysians who came out for Bersih 4 were disciplined, good-natured and patriotic citizens. Their demands for reforms should be respected and the fact that we had a peaceful assembly should be celebrated by all Malaysians.

Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0, which consists of:

Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Deputy Chairperson: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan; Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah; national representatives: Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusof, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri; vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).

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