Thursday 23 August 2012

Bersih launches RM1 fundraiser for pre-polls blitz

August 23, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 today launched a RM1 fundraising campaign to finance its nationwide pre-election blitz aimed at maintaining the momentum from its April 28 electoral reforms rally in the city.

The campaign seeks to raise some RM250,000 to fund the medical and legal expenses arising from the tumultuous rally and to spread public awareness of Bersih’s demands for free and fair elections.
“As the next general election looms closer, Bersih 2.0 seeks your support.

The work still needs to continue and we need to work together for all of us to carry on.

“Therefore, Bersih 2.0 is now launching a fundraising campaign to ask every Malaysian to support us by donating to the Bersih 2.0 ‘Make a difference with RM1’ campaign for Clean and Fair Elections,” the group’s steering committee said in a statement here.
Bersih 2.0, a coalition of over 82 non-governmental organisations, held its third rally for free and fair elections since 2007 on the streets of the capital on April 28.

The “sit-in protest”, which was meant to be peaceful, however resulted in violence when tens of thousands of people clashed with armed riot police after barricades surrounding the historic Dataran Merdeka were breached.

The police had earlier erected razor-wire fences and plastic and steel barricades around the venue to stop protesters from using it for the rally.

Since the event, scores of reports have been lodged against the police, alleging brutality, while the government has had to fend off negative publicity for its alleged mishandling for the otherwise peaceful event.

Bersih 2.0 reminded today that the event had also resulted in two legal suits being launched against its steering committee members, including one against 10 of its members for alleged damages amounting to RM122,000 and one by KL City Hall against Bersih leaders Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Maria Chin Abdullah, demanding for compensation amounting to RM351,203.45.

Donations to the RM1 campaign, said the polls watchdog group, would help ease the financial burden of these legal suits.

“The two wholly unfair charges by the government are seen as targeted attacks against Bersih 2.0 aimed at derailing the call for free and fair elections.

“Thus, Bersih 2.0 urgently appeals to all Malaysians to maintain their focus on this crucial issue and support the effort in whatever ways that they can,” it said in today’s statement.

Bersih 2.0 added that although scores of lawyers have come forward to offer free legal services to its leaders and victims of violence from the April 28 rally, there were other costs like filing fees, transportation and administrative fees that were still needed to be settled.

Bersih 2.0 said it will also be embarking on nationwide campaigns ahead of the coming general election to continue spreading awareness among Malaysians of the need for electoral reforms.

The awareness campaigns, it said, will include printing leaflets, producing short cartoon video clips, conducting workshops and ceramahs to highlight Bersih’s eight demands, activities encouraging the young to vote and the establishment of a “Bersih.TV”.

“With your backing, the core message of ‘Keluar Mengundi Lawan Penipuan’ will reach far and wide, thus putting pressure on the authorities to implement the necessary changes and for you as a voter to decide wisely,” Bersih 2.0 said.

Donations for Bersih 2.0’s RM1 campaign can be made through the group’s CIMB account (12380000661-10-0) with the account name “Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor”.

“The funds collected will be regularly updated on our website with audited accounts made available,” Bersih 2.0 said.

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