Ambiga says ‘sorry’ for not pushing Bersih agenda harder
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 – Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has refused to apologise to anti-Bersih groups who gathered at her home earlier today for what took place during the April 28 rally, and maintained that Bersih’s struggle was relevant for Malaysia’s future.
Two anti-Bersih groups – one led by traders calling themselves “Bersih 4.0” and the other “Halau 1.0” – had gathered near Ambiga’s residence here in Bukit Damansara earlier today demanding she apologise for the violence and alleged property damage which occurred during the Bersih 3.0 rally.
Both groups presented separate memoranda to Ambiga, which was received instead by Bersih co-chairman Datuk A. Samad Said.
“I’m prepared to apologise. I’m 55. I apologise to the next generation because I did not fight harder... I should have so that Malaysia won’t descend to this level, that is all I will apologise for.
“It is unacceptable that the situation come to this level that my neighbourhood was like a war zone, authorities could have nipped it in the bud,” Ambiga told reporters after the two groups had left.
The former Bar Council chairman stressed that she was “not unsympathetic to people who genuinely lost money” but added that they had to weigh their incurred losses to gains made in the name of free and fair elections.
“I have done enough. There were two memorandums (sic) handed today... I want you to judge its contents for yourself,” she told reporters.
Ambiga was flanked by most of the Bersih steering committee members as well as dozens of supporters who came today to show support for the Bersih co-chairman.
Ambiga’s private residence in Bukit Damansara has been the target of protest gatherings of late, in the uproar that followed the Bersih 3.0 rally for free and fair elections.
To date, two separate groups have held protests outside her home.
The first involved some 10 traders who prepared about 200 chicken and beef burgers, and even offered some to the Bersih leader, who is vegetarian and a Hindu.
The group also promised a larger protest with 500 traders but later cancelled the May 24 event, saying they had taught Ambiga a lesson after Bersih said there were no plans for another rally.
A few days later, about 10 retired soldiers from the Malay Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVTM) exercised their bottoms outside of Ambiga’s house to protest against the Bersih chief for being — according to them — an “enemy” of the nation.
“Bersih 4.0” leader Datuk Jamal Md Yunos announced today that his group of traders will organise a 150,000-strong gathering at Stadium Bukit Jalil next month as part of an on-going protest to demand compensation for alleged losses incurred during the April 28 rally in the city capital.