De-mystifying BERSIH 2.0

Posted on 05 July 2011

# 1 BERSIH 2.0 is an independent coalition of non-government organsiations and is unaffiliated to any political party.

 BERSIH 2.0 is the name of a group of 62 non-government organisations called the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.  It is a coalition of like minded civil society organisations unaffiliated to any political party.

BERSIH 2.0 has invited ALL political parties to participate in the walk for democracy on 9 July.  However, BN component parties have rejected the invitation.


# 2 The demand of BERSIH 2.0 is to reform Malaysia’s electoral system.

BERSIH 2.0 is a civil society led movement, not led by political parties.

The demands of BERSIH 2.0 are to reform electoral processes, including to:

  1. Clean up the electoral roll to address irregularities,
  2. Reform postal voting,
  3. Use indelible ink,
  4. Establish a minimum campaign period of 21 days,
  5. Ensure free and fair access for all political parties to the media,
  6. Strengthen public institutions,
  7. Get rid of corruption, and
  8. Put a stop to dirty politics.


# 3 The BERSIH 2.0 rally and its t-shirts are legal.

 By calling for a just and transparent electoral system, the supporters of BERSIH 2.0 are exercising their constitutional rights enshrined under Article 10 of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution.  The Federal Constitution states that citizens have:

-       the right to free speech and expression,

-       the right to peaceful assembly, and

-       the right to freedom of association.

In order for an article of clothing to be deemed illegal, under Section 7 (2) of the ISA, the Minister must make an order for this to be the case.


# 4 BERSIH 2.0 is wholly funded by Malaysians.

 Funding for the BERSIH 2.0 rally on 9 July has come from public donations by Malaysian citizens both at home and abroad and through the sale of t-shirts. Some reports have maliciously claimed that BERSIH 2.0 is backed by both Christians and Jews.  This is absolutely false and misleading.


# 5 BERSIH 2.0 has no links with communism.

 Some may have heard the claim that organisations connected with BERSIH 2.0 have links with communists.  This assertion is an attempt by anti-BERSIH 2.0 parties to discredit organisations and individuals, instil fear into the Malaysian populace and sabotage the aims of BERSIH 2.0. Furthermore communism is no longer a threat in any parts of the world.


# 6 The abuse of police powers will not intimidate the organisers and supporters of BERSIH 2.0.

The organisers and supporters of BERSIH 2.0, including the 62 NGOs that make up the coalition, will not back down in the face of the continuing arrests and abuse of police powers.  The future of our country relies on the effective functioning of a clean, free and fair electoral system. We are committed to upholding human rights.


# 7 The BERSIH 2.0 walk for democracy will be peaceful.

The organisers and supporters of the walk for democracy have at all times indicated that the event will be peaceful. A total of 5,000 security marshals, more than 100 doctors and lawyers are being prepared to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, prevent violence and any other lawyers will be present to prevent any untoward happenings.

The only form of violence witnessed to date in relation to BERSIH 2.0 has been violence imposed during the arbitrary arrests of citizens exercising their constitutional rights.  At past rallies involving civil society, the only violence has been sparked by the police and agitators.

BERSIH 2.0 has offered  a solution by asking the police to pick a route for us and facilitate a peaceful walk with police escort and not with intimidation.


# 8 The chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, Ambiga Sreenevasan, as well as other members of the steering committee, are tireless campaigners for social justice.

As a human rights defender and a woman who has achieved much in her career, including becoming the President of the Bar Council, Ambiga has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to social justice.  Ambiga took a strong stand in calling for an independent judiciary and has consistently been part of initiatives promoting human rights and social justice.


# 9 BERSIH 2.0 does not condone illegal acts.

Some people may have seen stickers bearing inflamatory remarks about overthrowing the government.  BERSIH 2.0 is in no way involved in the production of these stickers and does not endorse the views.   BERSIH 2.0 would not incite Malaysians to commit unlawful acts against the government.

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