SYDNEY, April 28 — Hundreds of people gathered at Martin Place here today, as Malaysians in 85 cities and towns in 35 countries stood in solidarity with the Bersih 3.0 rally calling for comprehensive reform of Malaysia’s electoral system.
By 2pm in Australia’s east, rallies were also well under way in Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Canberra. At the time of writing, Bersih 3.0 events in Adelaide and Perth were scheduled to begin soon after.
Organisers of the Sydney rally, mainly Malaysian students, said they were overwhelmed by the support from Malaysians, their friends and supporters.
Scheduled speakers in Sydney included Greens Party MP Jamie Parker; Lynda Voltz, an Australian Labor Party MP who sits on the NSW Legislative Council; Dr Marc Rerceretnam from the Ashfield Council; Dr Thiam Ang, former president of the Chinese Australia Forum; and Peter Boyle, National Co-convenor of the Socialist Alliance and a writer for Green Left Weekly.
“I’m here to stand with you … to stand against the fear that this great movement is seeking to challenge."
Parker said Australian companies can only survive in Malaysia because what he termed the deficit of democracy there.
“I’m here to stand with you … to stand against the fear that this great movement is seeking to challenge.
“No government should be empowered because the electoral system is rigged … governments should only be empowered because of the democratic will of the people,” Parker, who recently returned from a trip to Malaysia, said in his address to Bersih 3.0 Sydney participants.
He said Australians had a very strong reason to ensure that the credibility and reputation of its home-grown companies were upheld.
Parker said if the Bersih 3.0 movement is successful, “I could guarantee you there would be no Lynas in Malaysia”.
Sydney academic and long-time supporter of Bersih’s struggle for electoral reform, Clive Kessler, also addressed the crowd.
Global Bersih co-ordinator David Teoh said from Melbourne: “It’s so heart-warming to see so many Malaysians turn up, not only in Australia, but all over the world. We have Malaysians now at the top of the world, Mt Everest.
“We are all sending a very clear message to the Election Commission to resign.
“They are Umno members....how can they not resign? They should have resigned yesterday.”
Teoh added: “The whole world is watching Malaysia now.”
John Khoo, one of the founders of SABM Oz and a stalwart supporter of the cause for reform, said: “We must empower the youth, we must acknowledge their presence, and we must tell them that we are behind them as they struggle for a better future for everyone in Malaysia.”
“The time has come for Malaysians, ex-Malaysians and friends of Malaysians to do something … and your presence here proves it.
“We should not stop until the objective of a clean and fair election in Malaysia is achieved,” Khoo said.