Malaysia

Bersih to go global with July 9 rally

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
June 23, 2011
Latest Update: June 24, 2011 03:43 pm

People shout slogans during the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur, November 10, 2007. — Reuters picPeople shout slogans during the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur, November 10, 2007. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Election watchdog Bersih today confirmed that overseas rallies will be held simultaneously with its upcoming July 9 event, and that these will be spearheaded by Malaysian citizens living abroad.

Rallies will be held in London (United Kingdom); Seoul (South Korea); Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney (Australia); Osaka (Japan); Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York (US).

“All the overseas solidarity rallies held were initiated by Malaysian citizens living abroad who supported the demands for Perhimpunan Bersih 2.0. They personally contacted Bersih 2.0 and expressed interest in organising [rallies] where they were.

“We regard this wide interest by the Malaysian diaspora as an indication that Malaysians from all walks of life believe in the need for electoral reform and the upholding of democracy,” said a statement from the group’s steering committee today.

The committee comprises of chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Andrew Khoo, K. Arumugam , Dr Farouk Musa, Haris Ibrahim, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard YW Yeoh, Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, Zaid Kamaruddin, Dr Subramaniam Pillay and Arul Prakkash.

“Malaysian citizens living abroad should rise to the occasion and demand for their right to vote via postal ballot in the upcoming 13th General Election,” added the statement.

Bersih will also be conducting several roadshows nationwide prior to July 9, starting tomorrow at Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor and Johor Baru on June 25, and in Sungai Siput, Perak the day after.

A death threat was sent to Bersih 2.0 chairman Ambiga earlier today, ostensibly for planning the July 9 rally calling for free and fair elections. She has stressed, however, that the rally will carry on as planned.

The first rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s street before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannons.