Tuesday 13 September 2011

‘Be serious or face wrath of Bersih 3.0′

KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition has warned the government that another Bersih street rally will take place if the latter does not take electoral reforms seriously.

Speaking at a press conference here, PAS Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub said the government was treating the upcoming Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms as “window dressing”.
“If the PSC is (seen only as) window dressing or games, then we want to remind the government that Bersih 3.0 will take place.

“Don’t waste all our committment and our sincerity in helping. If it is true (that Barisan Nasional) is willing (to implement the reforms), then we will cooperate.

“If it is merely window dressing, then wait for Bersih 3.0,” he added.

In August, the Cabinet agreed to the setting up of the PSC to look into the issues behind Malaysia’s current electoral process.

At the time, the Cabinet agreed for the motion on the proposed PSC to be tabled at the next Parliamentary sitting this October.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said that the committee would consist of five BN MPs, three Pakatan MPs and one independent MP.

On July 9, Bersih 2.0 led by its chairman S Ambiga staged a massive street protest in the city calling for electoral reforms. The protest dealt a blow to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration.
In late August, Najib’s approval ratings dipped to 59%, with some in the political arena pinning the blame on his poor handling of the Bersih demonstration.

Pakatan outlines five demands

During the press conference, Salahuddin also outlined five electoral demands by Pakatan.
They are:
  • the fulfillment of Bersih 2.0′s eight demands.
  • to allow both Pakatan and BN to decide on the next GE’s date.
  • to give enough time for the PSC to implement the suggestions and ideas raised.
  • to address the foreign voter issue in the electoral rolls.
  • a guarantee of full cooperation from the BN government.
Touching on the PSC, Salahuddin said that Pakatan was willing to offer its full cooperation to the committee.
Even so, he added: “There must be serious guarantees from Najib prior to Oct 3 (when the motion will be tabled in Parliament).”

According to the Bersih 2.0 website, its eight demands included: cleaning of the electoral roll, postal ballot reforms, indelible ink, a minimum 21-day campaign period, free and fair access to the media, the strengthening of public institutions as well as stopping corruption and dirty politics.

PKR MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (Lembah Pantai), DAP MP Anthony Loke (Rasah) and PAS MPs Siti Mariah Mahmud (Kota Raja), Kamaruddin Jaafar (Tumpat), Mohd Firdaus Jaafar (Jerai) and Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof (Rantau Panjang) were also present at the press conference.

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