Saturday 21 May 2011

Bersih to march on July 9 for free, fair elections

In the face of looming polls, piling accusations of abuses and a stubborn Election Commission (EC), Bersih has sought to organise a repeat of its ground-breaking 2007 march.
Now called Bersih 2.0, the coalition for clean and fair elections today announced that it will hold a 'Walk For Democracy' in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, July 9 at 2pm.

mohamad sabu pc announcing new bersih rallyThe decision was announced by PAS central committee member Mohamad Sabu (centre in photo) at a press conference today.

He said the matter was agreed upon at a Bersih meeting on May 19 attended by over 60 NGOs and political parties.

The aim of the rally, he said, was to press on with the four key demands that Bersih had made during the first march in 2007.
“Those of us from PAS in the Bersih committee agree with the date set.

“We will direct our members and supporters to attend the peaceful rally, just as in Bersih 1,” said Sabu.
“We hope there will not be any interference from the police (during the rally).”
bersih rally 271207 02The first Bersih rally on Nov 10, 2007 (right) saw a massive turnout of 40,000 people, turning the streets of Kuala Lumpur into a sea of yellow.
The crowd marched from Dataran Merdeka to the Istana Negara in the capital city, to press for measures to curb alleged rampant electoral abuses.
The Bersih rally, which was soon followed by the Nov 25, 2007 Hindraf rally, helped set the stage for the political tsunami in the March 2008 general election.
List of demands grow to six
Sabu said in addition to the four demands of 2007, two more have been added.

One concerns the abuse of government institutions during elections such that the rakyat can no longer differentiate between political parties and the civil service.

The other is to extend the campaign period from its current eight days to a period “that is more reasonable”.

“In Thailand when the election is called for in July, campaigning is at least two months,” he said.
The original four demands are the use of indelible ink, clean up the electoral rolls, abolition of postal votes, and access to government-controlled print and broadcast media for opposition parties.

Bersih 2.0, which has been persistently pushing for reforms in the electoral process, yesterday objected to amendments that the EC has announced on postal voting and the use of handphones by polling and counting agents (PACA).

Despite attempts to spook the public from participating in the Bersih rally, thousands turned up in the largest show of force since the reformasi protests a decade ago.

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