Bersih 5 Rally Is Likely To Happen This October?
Bersih 5 is happening on 19 November
Electoral reform coalition Bersih has announced that the fifth instalment of its rally will be held on 19 November, local media reported.
This came after Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah confirmed that the rally will be held in November last week but refused to reveal further details until today.
She said in a press conference today, 14 September, that the rally tagline for the rally this time around is "Stand United, New Malaysia", adding that the tagline marked the 10th anniversary of its formation as a people's movement.
The electoral watchdog is also organising a nationwide convoy that will begin on 1 October
In the run-up to the rally, Maria also announced that Bersih 2.0 would be holding a seven-week nationwide convoy across 246 cities, in order to raise awareness on the need for all Malaysians to support its reform agenda.
The flag-off for the convoy will simultaneously take place in six places - Kangar (Perlis), Johor Baru (Johor), Kota Baru (Kelantan), Lumut (Perak), Sandakan (Sabah) and Miri (Sarawak).
"The emphasis this time, is to start a national conversation with all Malaysians. We have to bring the message to everyone so they understand the need for electoral reforms," she said.
7 SEPT: Maria Chin confirms that Bersih 5 is happening in November
Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah has confirmed today, 7 September that the fifth installment of the Bersih rally will be held in November.
"We will definitely have Bersih 5 in November. I am not going to tell you the date," she told reporters at the Palace of Justice today, 7 September.
Although she declined to reveal the exact date and venue for the event, she told the press that more information will be revealed next week when the electoral watchdog will call for a press conference on 14 September.
3 AUG: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has announced today that it will be organising the fifth instalment of its rally, Bersih 5, following recent developments on the 1MDB scandal
The announcement was made by the Bersih 2.0 committee at its office in Petaling Jaya today, 3 August.
Bersih said that staying silent is no longer an option following the US Department of Justice’s civil filing to seize assets that were allegedly bought with funds embezzled from 1MDB.
"We will be organising a Bersih 5 rally to pressure for greater accountability and action,” Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.
Bersih 2.0 will be partnering with various NGOs to organise weekly actions to protest against the 1MDB scandal
"These include a planned #TangkapMalaysianOfficial1 protest by the youth on 27 August 2016; the submission of memoranda to various government institutions; and the lodging of police reports against Malaysian Official No. 1," the electoral watchdog said in an official statement.
In the 136-page court document filed by the US DOJ, 'Malaysian Official 1' was mentioned for a total of 32 times.
Meanwhile, the date for the upcoming Bersih 5 rally is not finalised, contrary to local media reports.
"The date and details of the Bersih 5 rally will be announced in due course," said Maria during the press conference.
Earlier this morning, a source reportedly told Malay Mail Online that the rally will most likely take place in October
"No tentative date. (The) plan is to have it in October, with a series of rallies every two weeks at least leading up to it," a source from Bersih 2.0 was quoted as saying by Malay Mail Online.
The source reportedly said that rallies would be held at various location, adding that rallies could also be held at "all institutions which have been directly or indirectly involved" in US Department of Justice’s civil filing seeking to seize dozens of properties that it said were bought using funds linked to 1MDB.
About two weeks ago, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah confirmed that an upcoming rally is very likely to happen, following the recent developments in the United States concerning 1MDB
Maria reportedly said that the polls watchdog was in the process of negotiating with civil society and various non-governmental organisations, and planning for the public protest, which she said would be best held soon.
"Bersih’s process is that we have to consult the NGOs before we actually make any decision. That is definitely an agenda on the table," she told a press conference outside the Election Commission’s (EC) headquarters on 22 July.
"The chances of Bersih 5 happening is very likely; only thing we need to iron out (is) the details like when and where," a source close to the organisation was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the new Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) chairman has urged Bersih 2.0 not to take to the streets to make known its demands
Tan Sri Razali Ismail, who recently took over as SUHAKAM chairman from fellow ex-diplomat Hasmy Agam, said that there are better ways in fighting for human rights.
"No one can prevent them from asking for accountability. But if you want to make a point, why do you go to the street? You damage a lot of property and all that. We are not that desperate in Malaysia like in Tunisia or Tahrir Square (Egypt during the Arab Spring uprising)," he reportedly said in an interview with The Star.
He added that he is "not a take-over-the-town-or-the-padang" type of democrat.
Bersih 2.0 has since responded to Razali, saying that they are "dismayed" that the SUHAKAM chairman chose not to defend the fundamental rights of Malaysians to participate in a peaceful assembly
Bersih said in a statement on Monday, 1 August, that peaceful assembly is a right guaranteed by Article 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution to all Malaysian citizens.
"We wish to remind Razali that Suhakam is mandated to protect and promote human rights in Malaysia, including the right to hold peaceful assemblies without arms."
"With the passing of a slew of draconian legislation and state prosecutions against politicians, activists and members of the public in recent years, we expect the chair of SUHAKAM to be at the forefront of defending human rights, so that Malaysia can proudly take its place among the fraternity of developed and democratic nations of the world," it added.