KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today called on the Najib administration to support the Bersih 2.0 Rally, and urged the Inspector-General of Police to facilitate the election watchdog’s July 9 gathering in the nation’s capital.
The first Bersih rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s street, but they were forced to disperse by police armed with tear gas and water cannons, sparking chaotic scenes which embarrassed the government.
“I would like to call on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Cabinet ministers and leaders of all Barisan Nasional compnent parties to come forward to join in the Bersh 2.0 rally on July 9 to support the civil society initiative for free and fair elections.
“Let July 9 be a historic day in Malaysia to celebrate the coming-of-age of 54 years of parliamentary democracy where political parties, both ruling and opposition, together with the civil society, can come together to address the major defects of our democratic system of governance — the many serious flaws of the electoral system failing to give real meaning to the principle of ‘one person, one vote, one value’; a clean, free and fair election proce and elected government which commands unquestioned credibility, legitimacy and authority,” he told a press conference in Parliament today.
Lim added that the participation of Najib and his Cabinet ministers would help “exorcise” once and for all the threat against the Chinese community purportedly made by Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali.
During the launch of his counter-protest against Bersih on Sunday, Ibrahim told the Chinese community to stay indoors on July 9 and stock up on food as “anything could happen”.
“If such incendiary blood-curdling threats had been uttered by anyone in Pakatan Rakyat (PR), he or she would have been clapped in jail without much ado,” said Lim.
He chastised Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for failing to take action against the Malay rights leader, and added that the failure of other BN component parties to strongly condemn Ibrahim mirrored their backing of the Pasir Mas MP.
“Will the Cabinet meeting this week censure the Home Minister for failing to take appropriate and commensurate action against Ibrahim Ali for such incendiary, seditious an treasonous May 13 threats?” he asked.
When asked if he agreed that the Bersih rally should be called off should the Election Commission give in to the coalition’s demands for free and fair elections, Lim expressed doubt that this would occur.
“We will see only when it happens,” he said.
PR component parties and activists are gearing up to march on July 9 in the second such rally by election watchdog Bersih.
PAS has promised to bring some 300,000 protestors this year in hopes that it will galvanise support for the opposition in the next general election, expected to be called within a year.
Perkasa has pledged to send 20 buses from each of the 10 peninsular Malaysian states, in addition to supporters from 164 other non-governmental organisations, to protest the Bersih rally.
Umno Youth has also said it will march on July 9 to counter the Bersih rally.