Malaysia

Ambiga: Bersih to rally in stadium, not on streets

By Syed Mu’az Syed Putra
July 05, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — Bersih 2.0 will continue its rally for electoral reform but in a stadium and not on the streets, the group said today fresh from an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in Istana Negara.

“We accept the government’s offer to hold the demonstration in a stadium. We will not hold it in the streets,” Bersih 2.0 chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told reporters today.

Ambiga stops to talk to the press on leaving Istana Negara after the audience with the King.Ambiga stops to talk to the press on leaving Istana Negara after the audience with the King.“This is the best way,” she said, admitting it was a compromise.

Ambiga said the meeting today in the palace was only between Bersih leaders and the King.

“No prime minister,” she replied, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Ambiga was spotted entering Istana Negara about 2pm today after winning an audience with the King to discuss their Saturday march in the national capital.

She was accompanied by fellow Bersih steering committee member Zaid Kamaruddin and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said. The trio came out at 3.15pm.

The former Malaysian Bar president said the Bersih steering committee will discuss the new location for the July 9 rally and will elaborate at a later press conference.

Earlier today, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact said it welcomed Najib’s offer to allow Bersih to hold its July 9 rally in a stadium.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was also reported to have offered Bersih the use of state-owned Stadium Melawati in Shah Alam.

In a statement signed by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and DAP national organising secretary Teresa Kok, the pact said the agreement had been reached following several discussions among party leaders.

They added that Bersih’s demands for electoral reform should stay as the main objective of the rally, pointing out that such reforms were needed urgently before the 13th general election.

“There needs to be commitment from the PM on that, aside from his offer to Bersih that its rally can be held in a stadium,” they said.

“They should stop their harsh actions now. All three parties in PR are ready to co-operate with the police to ensure that the demonstration goes on smoothly,” they added.