Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Malaysiakini)
Nov 5, 07
Ahead of a planned gathering for electoral reform on Saturday, the website of the organiser – the Coalition for Clean and Free Elections (Bersih) – was hacked yesterday.
The hacker left a message on the website that “the Nov 10 gathering will be postponed indefinitely” [see below].
However, the website was reinstated today, with a precautionary message from the moderator that informs visitors of the hacking and also that Saturday’s event at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, will proceed.
Bersih members believe that the hacking of the website is an attempt by the authorities to confuse supporters and to deter them from attending the ‘yellow wave’ assembly which is expected to attract 10,000 participants.
DAP parliamentarian for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, also a member of Bersih, told a press conference at the Parliament lobby today that it is regrettable “that such a deplorable act has taken place”.
She said the organisers will not be distracted by this but will focus fully on mobilising supporters for the gathering.
PKR vice-president R Sivarasa, who was present, accused the traditional media of conspiring with the authorities to weaken the mobilisation efforts.
English-language daily Star reported last Thursday – a day after Bersih met with Kuala Lumpur CPO Zulhasnan Najib Baharuddin – that the police officer 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.
Sivarasa said he had contacted Zulhasnan for clarification, and had been reassured that he had not issued any such statement. He said Zulhasnan had sent a letter to the newspaper to protest the contents of the report.
“We urge the mainstream media to report news responsibly and independently as this (report) is clearly irresponsible,” Sivarasa said.
However, a Star journalist told Sivarasah that the CPO had, in fact, made the statement. She supported her claim by saying that 20 journalists from various media organisations had been present.
Sivarasa replied that he would stick to what the CPO told him, as he believed that the letter of protest was a clear sign that the CPO was being honest.
Royal intervention sought
Sivarasa said the gathering was aimed at seeking the King’s intervention 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, Sivarasa said Bersih had submitted an application on Saturday. The coalition will meet Dang Wangi OCPD Mohd Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman later today to discuss this.
PKR information chief Tian Chua said Bersih will not back down from holding the gathering even if the application is not approved, arguing that it is the group’s democratic right to do so.
The police had earlier sent a letter to Bersih, advising it to apply for a permit. The coalition then met with the CPO to explain its reasons for holding the event.
The gathering will be followed by a march to the palace, where a memorandum on electoral reforms will be submitted.
Bersih website hacked ahead of Nov 10 rally
Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Malaysiakini)