Bersih 4 must succeed – at all costs!

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A section of the massive crowd at Bersih 3.0 - Photograph: Aliran

If you want a better Malaysia and a safer tomorrow, then it is incumbent upon us to make Bersih 4 an unprecedented success.

We must come forward in numbers that are impressive enough for the powers that be to take note of our just demands.

The great labour leader and civil rights activist, Caesar Chavez, once said, “When you have people together who believe in something very strongly – whether it’s religion or politics or unions – things happen.”

And things will happen when we come together on 29 August and, in one voice, make our demands on moral grounds. Our demands are just and deserving and will be heard!

We are motivated for the well being of the nation. There are no individual or selfish agendas. These are common demands of Malaysians who, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr, have “Quietly endure(d), silently suffer(ed) and patiently wait(ed).”

For years, Malaysians have been demanding clean elections, a clean government, the right to protest, the strengthening of parliamentary democracy and the saving of Malaysia’s economy. These repeated demands have fallen on deaf years. We have, as it were, reached the end of the road.

The existing system and institutions are meant to serve the larger public interest. But the present reality is that they are serving the interest of one individual.

If there is anything that is seen as a threat to this individual, the powers of the state descend ruthlessly upon the dissenters. Even attempts to expose corruption are frustrated by the apparatus of the state as seen by the recent harassment of the investigators.

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We have reached a stage when we have to collectively take action for the common good of the nation. This is the very reason for Bersih 4.

The police should not do anything to disrupt this peaceful gathering. There is no need for tear gas and water cannons. There is no need to erect barricades to prevent or hinder the movement of people. There are no mischief-makers in this assembly; they come in peace and will disperse peacefully.

The police should be there to protect this peaceful assembly and facilitate the free flow of traffic. They should keep a lookout for agent provocateurs who may be there to cause chaos. There may be others involved in counter demonstrations to provoke and incite. The police must deal with them sternly.

Fellow Malaysians, it is now or never. We have this great opportunity to restore the dignity of the nation and put it on the right path of justice and the rule of law so that the aspirations of citizens will be respected. We must respond to this call to save our country from the rot.

Let us gather with the full knowledge that “the highest form of freedom carries with it the greatest measure of discipline”.

P Ramakrishnan
Aliran executive committee
26 August 2015

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