KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — The Elections Commission (EC) has hit out at Bersih’s planned July 9 rally, accusing the elections watchdog of now championing Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) political agenda.
EC deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar charged that the upcoming march was an attempt to repeat the vote swing of the last general election, which saw Barisan Nasional (BN) lose its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament.
He also pleaded with Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to call off the rally, saying there was still time for discussions with the EC.
He then claimed that Ambiga was being “used” by the opposition.
“In 2007, they demonstrated resulted in momentum for March 2008. Now, amid rumours of snap polls, they want history to repeat itself. They say ‘let us do Bersih 2.0, to get bigger support.’
“This is a political agenda... political parties are taking advantage of the real purpose of Bersih,” said Wan Ahmad today at a luncheon talk on Bersih’s demands and the EC’s response.
The deputy EC head added that Bersih should register as a political party if it wanted to get “involved” in politics.
“Bersih is not the the Bersih I once knew, it has changed. It became so complicated, it’s not good... I beg Ambiga, separate Bersih from political agendas,” he added.
Wan Ahmad explained that Bersih came to the EC with 17 demands last November, but after many meetings with the commission, the demands for reforms dropped to eight.
He said the EC had informed Bersih that it would look into the eight reform demands after the Sarawak state elections, and questioned Bersih’s sudden urgency over the matter.
“Why in such a rush? Is Bersih’s agenda to fight for democracy of the future, or short term goals of the 13th general election? There is no shortcut in this,” he said, adding that voters have also been “manipulated” into hating the EC.
“Party politics will do anything to win elections,” said Wan Ahmad.
He also warned Bersih to not blame the police for anything that might happen on July 9.
“So many people have now joined the bandwagon for July 9... don’t blame the police. They have a much bigger responsibility (now),” he added.