BERSIH press conference in Parliament Lobby

Media Statement by Sivarasa Rasiah, Member of BERSIH’s Steering Committee & Vice President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, on 5th November 2007:
Royal intervention sought
BERSIH stresses that the gathering on 10th November 2007 is a peaceful expression of citizens’ wish for best practices in our electoral system.

For any nation that claims to have any semblance of democracy, a clean, free and fair election is a must.
The gathering is also aimed at seeking the intervention of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for electoral reform and to consider the possibility of setting up a Royal commission to enable this to be carried out.
The petition will also ask that the King exercises his power under Article 40(2) (B) to withhold the prime minister’s authority to dissolve Parliament until electoral reforms are in place.
In relation to the police permit for the assembly, BERSIH had submitted an application on Saturday.
The Star reported that the Chief Police Officer of Kuala Lumpur Deputy Comm Zulhasnan Najib last Baharuddin had threatened the public with arrest if they participate.
The report further said that the CPO would not approve any application for a permit, and would deem the event as an illegal one if it is held.
I contacted Deputy Comm Zulhasnan for clarification, and had been reassured that he had not issued any such statement. He had sent a letter to the newspaper to protest the contents of the report.
It is against the Police’s Standard Operation Procedures for a CPO to reject a permit before it is even filed. It is within the realm of powers of the OCPD to decide on an application for permit, with the CPO acting as an appellate authority. Indeed, this was the point made by Deputy Comm Zulhasnan at BERSIH’s meeting with him on 1st November.
Members of BERSIH met with DSP Izam Bakri, Chief Dang Wangi Police District’s Special Branch, this afternoon. BERSIH and the Police discussed routes to be taken on 10 November, as well as urging the Police to aid BERSIH in its attempt to submit a memorandum to the King.
Members of BERSIH reiterated to the Police that they can herald a new era of win-win situation where people’s legitimate right to assembly is safeguarded with the Police assists in crowd control.