Isnin, Julai 04, 2011

The Overview of BERSIH - Phang Siew Chin

Vice President I of PMUKM 2010/2011
July 2011

The Overview of BERSIH

BERSIH started out as the Joint Action Committee for Electoral Reform, which was formed in July 2005, and the coalition’s objective was to push for a thorough reform of the electoral process in Malaysia.

8 calls of Bersih’s are highlited as:  a.Clean the electoral roll; b. Reform postal ballot; c.Use of indelible ink; d. Minimum 21 days campaign period; d.Free and fair access to media;e. Strengthen public institutions; e. Stop corruption; f. stop dirty politics.

 BERSIH 2.0: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bahasa Malaysia name “BERSIH”) issued its first joint communiqué on 23 November 2006. BERSIH comprised civil society organisations and political parties with the objective of campaigning for clean and fair elections in Malaysia. The public demonstration of November 2007, which saw thousands of ordinary Malaysians take to the streets in support of clean and fair elections, was a critical juncture in our nation’s electoral journey. Almost 3 ½ years later, BERSIH to continue its crusade for clean and fair elections independent of any political party. BERSIH is thus being re-launched as BERSIH 2.0, a coalition of like minded civil society organisations unaffiliated to any political party. Its aim will be to effectively monitor both sides of the political divide. The Chairperson is Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The relevant news that link to BERSIH 2.0

On 28 June 2011, 31 supporters of the planned Bersih 2.0 rally, including Sungai Siput member of parliament Dr S. Jayakumar Devaraj, detained in Sungai Dua here on Saturday, are being investigated for allegedly preparing to wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

            Our respective agency that in charge, The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam.

“We recall the recommendations we made for the Government to respect the freedom of assembly,” he said adding that the commission had also recommended to the police to use non-violent methods to control or disperse the crowd during an assembly.

The Commission, he said, called on the authorities to allow the peaceful assemblies by Bersih, Umno Youth and Perkasa to allow them to exercise their rights in an orderly and responsible manner.”
The Star Online, Suhakam: People has the right of assembly,28 June 2011.

Issue of the main funding for the proposed rally came from foreign NGOs with money channelled through local organisations. The Star Online, Suhakam: People has the right of assembly,28 June 2011.
Following the political leader from the opposition are highly supported.

The Malaysian Bar Council Human Rights Committee (“BCHRC”) will send monitoring teams to observe the BERSIH 2.0 rally scheduled on 9 July 2011.  The monitoring teams will look out for possible violations of human rights during the event. BCHRC would like to invite Members of the Malaysian Bar and pupils in chambers to join the teams. Members of the monitoring teams must adhere strictly to the rules and guidelines set by BCHRC in monitoring the rally.” Source:the Malaysian Bar website.

The Malaysian Bar president, Lim Chee Wee, in a press conference here that events of the past have shown that this right had been upheld, and there is no reason why the Bersih 2.0 rally, organised by the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, should be any different. He recalled the first Bersih rally in 2007, where the police played a pivotal role in ensuring peace, exercised reasonable restraint and co-operated with the participants to regulate traffic flow. "There is no reason this rally on July 9 should be any different," he said, citing Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. Article 10 refers to the right of all citizens to freedom of assembly.

"We point to the positive examples the police demonstrated during the two anti-Lynas rallies in March and May," he said.

"In these events, the police allowed for a public rally to take place notwithstanding that a police permit had not been applied for. Therefore, the police and the people have shown it is possible for peaceful public rallies to take place."
Section 27 of the Police Act requires for the application of a police permit before a public assembly.The rally had been declared as illegal, and certain parties including Malay-rights group Perkasa have protested aganst it.
Source from The Sun2 Surf: Bar Council calls for police, govt to respect right to assemble, 24 June 2011

            The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said all rallies held without a police permit will be deemed illegal.    
In furtherance with that endless news, the Umno Youth and Kelab Putra 1Malaysia launched their "Himpunan Patriot" (Patriots Rally) to counter BERSHI 2.0. and PERKASA. 

The Views

It was discussed with some of my fellow friends in PMUKM, would  it be fair to treat BERSIH differently as compared to the Patriots and PERKASA? Is BERSIH solely upholding the objective as stated earlier? Has it become a political ploy? Has any injustice and unfairness occur?  How? Should it be blamed for others incidents that happened or may happened after that? Would you consider that the present of  BERSIH, it has made you realized that how important  clean and fair  elections are to this beloved nation? A lots of questions popped up during our discussion. It will never result in solutions to help this nation. In fact, as the students we should look at the rationality and the idea of BERSIH.

My Personal view as to the existence of BERSIH, despite many people objecting to it looking on it ideas, the presence of BERSIH is timely to spread the idea of being fair and clean elections. Undeniably, the presence of BERSIH has challenged the status of Election Commission of Malaysia (SPR) and the status quo of the nation but it is the right thing to do, sadly people are using it to play what I would consider as “dirty political tactics”. Choices can be made and reasoning can be used to determine whether  BERSIH is a good move. As rational students, the answer is for you to decide as I do have mine too.