Pakatan says will back Bersih 3.0
KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers said today it would support a third rally for free and fair elections by Bersih after accusing the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) of not showing its full commitment to electoral reforms.
They told The Malaysian Insider that after the findings of Parliament’s polls panel were passed yesterday without debate and a minority report dismissed outright, they would have to increase public awareness of alleged electoral fraud.
“This is not the end. If there is no firm action, Bersih 4 and 5 may happen,” PAS vice president Salahuddin Ayub said.
PKR vice president Fuziah Salleh also agreed with the Kubang Kerian MP that the federal opposition would have no problems backing Bersih’s rally at Dataran Merdeka on April 28 as the question of “masterminding” the electoral reforms movement did not arise.
“You think we can control someone like (Datuk) Ambiga (Sreenevasan)?” the Kuantan MP said, referring to the Bersih chief who is also former Bar Council president.
Fuziah, who has led PKR’s taskforce on spotting dubious registered voters, said that the opposition “must create more awareness” as the government has refused to acknowledge the weaknesses in the electoral roll.
“If more people are aware, then we may get a higher voter turnout and minimise the impact of fraudulent voters,” she said.
Bersih confirmed today it will hold its third rally for free and fair elections on April 28 saying it was necessary to warn Malaysians that the country is about to face its “dirtiest” polls to date.
The 84-member coalition expressed its disappointment in the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms that was formed following the July 9, 2011 rally for free and fair elections which saw tens of thousands flood the streets of the capital.
But Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told reporters in Parliament today the historic square, where the Malayan flag was hoisted for the first time after independence, is not a lawful gathering point under the recently passed Peaceful Assembly Act.
“Dataran Merdeka has not been gazetted as an area for peaceful gatherings,” the de facto law minister said.
DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke, who sat in the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms, said his party had yet to officially support the April 28 sit-in but “we support their objectives in principle.”
“The main question here is what is the Election Commission’s (EC) commitment to reform? Has it acted on our interim report or the 42,000 dubious voters highlighted last year?” the Rasah MP said.
The opposition also backed the July 9, 2011 Bersih march despite accusations from certain quarters that the demonstration was masterminded by PR.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds in chaotic scenes which saw over 1,500 arrested, scores injured and the death of an ex-soldier in a clampdown that earned condemnation for the Najib administration in the international press.