Bersih Singapore denies aiding foreign interference in polls
KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Bersih Singapore 3.0 has denied it is responsible for a planned protest this afternoon in front of the Singapore High Commission here to protest the island republic’s alleged interference into Malaysia’s affairs.
“Bersih 3.0 Singapore has been made aware of a call to demonstrate on June 22 in front of the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur to protest against the alleged ‘planned interference by foreign interests’ in Malaysia in the upcoming 13th General Election,” said Ong Guan Sin, co-ordinator of the Singapore offshoot of the electoral reform movement, in a statement to The Malaysian Insider today.
“The allegation started from a blog, MyMassa, purporting to have proof of preparation by Singaporeans being trained as polling/counting agents for GE13.
“The blog used the specific training event organised by Bersih 3.0 Singapore as ‘proof’ of such preparation for intervention,” he added.
The protest instead is believed to be organised by a pro-Umno blogger who goes by the moniker “mymassa”.
Earlier this week, the anonymous blogger had accused three Singaporean envoys of holding a talk in the republic to galvanise its People’s Action Party (PAP) Youth members to take part in Malaysia’s 13th general election, which must be called by next year, based on a photo depicting an electoral process briefing that was allegedly taken in the Lion City recently.
The caption under the photo reads: “DI SINGAPURA = MEREKA KURSUSKAN BELIA PAP HADAPI PRU13 MALAYSIA, DI MALAYSIA = DIPLOMAT SINGAPURA SERTAI BERSIH 3.0 (In Singapore = They organise PAP Youth to face Malaysia’s 13th general election, In Malaysia = Singaporean diplomats took part in Bersih 3.0)”.
The same picture minus the caption was also highlighted in an Utusan Malaysia article, published on June 20, titled “Pendedahan ini, jika benar, cukup memeranjatkan! (This expose, if true, is shocking!)”
The opinion piece by Zaini Hassan questioned the government’s silence over the allegations linking Singaporean envoys to the Bersih group in a bid to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition from power during the chaotic April 28 rally for clean elections.
In a posting on his mymassa.blogspot.com website yesterday, the blogger confirmed that a protest march would begin at 2.30pm today, after Friday prayers, from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) mosque near the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and end at the Singaporean diplomatic mission in Jalan Tun Razak.
“Bagi mymassa, orang-orang Melayu khususnya perlu bangun dari tidur! Orang-orang Melayu dan umat Islam jangan membiarkan negara Asing menentukan masa depan politik negara kita. (For mymassa, Malays must awaken from their sleep! Malays and Muslims must not let foreign countries dictate our political future.)
“Kepada yang hadir Jumaat ini di Kedutaan Singapura, luahkan kemarahan anda kepada kurangajar Diplomat-Diplomat Singapura itu di depan Kedutaan Singapura (To those present this Friday at the Singapore High Commission, vent your anger to these ill-bred Singaporean diplomats in front of the Singapore High Commission),” the blogger said.
He urged Malay non-governmental organisation (NGO) members to show that they will not tolerate any foreign sovereign power interfering in the country’s domestic affairs, which he said was a threat to national security.
“Mymassa” also said the message had been passed to Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and other Malay groups. He named the right-wing Perkasa and Pekida among them.
Bersih 3.0 Singapore described the allegations as “ridiculous”, saying the talk was a Malaysian event, organised by Malaysians for Malaysians living abroad on their voting rights.
“The total lack of evidence that any Singaporean elements were in any way involved means that the suggestion betrays either an overactive imagination, or insincere motivations, or both,” said Ong, the co-ordinator.
He added that the group will continue to facilitate efforts to educate overseas Malaysians on their constitutional right to vote and press for electoral reform, which has been Bersih’s main agenda since its formation.
Several BN ministers, MPs and key establishment figures, including former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, have been critical of the April 28 Bersih rally for free and fair elections in Kuala Lumpur, accusing the organisers and opposition leaders of having planned a coup against the government during the mass demonstration.
Bersih leaders have dismissed the allegation, saying the protest was intended only to seek electoral reforms.