The alternative Merdeka Day countdown event at Dataran Merdeka organised by civil society groups is now dubbed “Janji Demokrasi (Promise of Democracy)”.

A new committee, called Gabungan Janji involving 49 NGOs, said that the purpose of the event was to celebrate Merdeka Day with the spirit of “Janji Demokrasi”.

This, the latest incarnation of the “Janji Bersih” event, organised by 26 NGOs, is  a play on the federal government’s much criticised Merdeka Day theme “Janji Ditepati”.

The event was initially supposed to remind the federal government about the Bersih 2.0 movement’s eight demands and that it has yet to fulfil promises of true electoral reform.

In a press release today, Gabungan Janji stressed that the group does not represent Bersih 2.0, as reported by some media organisations.

“Gabungan Janji would like to invite Malaysians to celebrate Merdeka Day in a very special way. We, people of all races, will gather at Dataran Merdeka peacefully

“We urge all Malaysians - from Perlis to Johor, and Sabah and Sarawak - to wear yellow on the eve of Merdeka Day,” read the statement.

Special poem

NONEHowever, as originally planned, national laureate A Samad Said will be reciting a special poem for the “Janji Demokrasi” gathering.
A press conference by Gabungan Janji is scheduled for next Thursday where further announcements would be made.
Previously, the Kuala Lumpur Petty Traders Action Council warned that its members would "respond aggressively" if the “Janji Bersih” gathering was to proceed as planned.

The federal police have expressed their reservations aboutthe event but were generally less antagonistic compared with  how they had opposed the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally.

In the latest development, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein predicts that the event would not be well attended.