Malaysia

Bersih to brief envoys today over Saturday rally

Maria said the envoys will also be updated on the recently-concluded Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms. — File picMaria said the envoys will also be updated on the recently-concluded Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Bersih 3.0 will meet foreign diplomats today in a bid to justify the group’s planned sit-in protest for free and fair elections at Dataran Merdeka this Saturday.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the closed-door meeting will be held at the Doubletree Hilton hotel at 3pm today, and Bersih’s representatives will include steering committee members Maria Chin Abdullah, Andrew Khoo and Hishamuddin Rais.

It is understood that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will also be present during the briefing.

“The purpose of this briefing is basically to update foreign diplomats on the progress of electoral reforms so far, since 709 (July 9) we have not met up with them,” Maria told The Malaysian Insider.

“Of course, this also means that Bersih 3.0 rally will be explained and discussed.

“Basically, we will explain the rationale of the rally, on how electoral reforms have not been delivered, on how fraud is still happening,” said the Bersih leader.

Maria said Bersih will also brief diplomats on the contents and findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms.

The movement said early this month a third rally was necessary to warn Malaysians that the country is about to face its “dirtiest” polls to date.

The coalition added it was disappointed by the recently concluded PSC, saying that despite Putrajaya’s repeated assurances and promises, the panel had failed to introduce meaningful reforms to the election system.

The bipartisan panel was formed following the July 9, 2011 rally for free and fair elections that saw tens of thousands flood into the streets of the capital.

The Najib administration was widely condemned for a clampdown on the demonstration in which police fired water cannons and tear gas into crowds during chaotic scenes that resulted in over 1,500 arrested, scores injured and the death of an ex-soldier.

Bersih’s eight demands are: a clean electoral roll, reform to postal voting, the use of indelible ink, a minimum campaign period of 21 days, fair access to the media, the strengthening public institutions, a stop to corruption, and an end to dirty politics.

PR has pledged its full support for this Saturday’s rally, promising to mobilise thousands of supporters to attend the event.

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