Malaysia

Bersih 3.0 if no electoral reforms before GE, says PAS

By Shannon Teoh
July 12, 2011
Latest Update: July 12, 2011 11:12 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — PAS has called on the Najib administration to bow to Bersih’s eight-point reforms to the electoral system or face a repeat of the rally that plunged the capital into chaos on Saturday.

Party deputy president Mohamad Sabu said today it would hold another rally before the next general election if the Election Commission (EC) failed to implement the reforms demanded by the coalition of 62 NGOs.

“The EC should act. If there is no action by the next election, we will suggest that Bersih holds another demonstration,” he said at a press conference.

Despite Bersih claiming that 50,000 had poured into the city last weekend, Mohamad (picture) threatened a larger rally, stating that “PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang has already said this is only the beginning.”

He also said the Islamist party would ask Bersih to declare Saturdays “Bersih Day” where members of the public should wear yellow to show their support for free and fair elections.

Asked if he was calling for the public to disobey the law, Mohamad said “the yellow shirts are only illegal to Umno but no court has declared them unlawful.”

He added that the EC could already implement part of the demands set out by the electoral reform movement such as cleaning up the electoral roll, reforming postal votes, using indelible ink and providing free access to the media for all parties.

Bersih had claimed a turnout of 50,000 for the street demonstration which went ahead without police permission, resulting in nearly 1,700 arrests, leaving dozens injured and the spouse of a PKR leader dead.

The electoral reform movement decided to take to the streets despite previously accepting Najib’s offer to move the street rally to a stadium after the government refused to allow the gathering to take place in Stadium Merdeka.

This came after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong called on the government a week ago to execute its duties fairly and for it to meet Bersih and discuss the issue of free and fair elections.

Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin had intervened after a police dragnet that had seen over 100 arrests, the raiding of the Bersih secretariat and confiscation of Bersih-related materials in the space of a week.

The first Bersih rally in November 2007 also saw tens of thousands being dispersed by police with tear gas and water cannons.

It was said to have been a key factor in a general election called just four months later, which saw BN losing its customary two-thirds hold of Parliament, ceding 82 seats and five state governments in its worst showing ever at the polls.