The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0) warns that the Government’s systematic attacks on the Opposition and political dissidents in general are hurting democracy, political stability and economy.
BERSIH 2,0 stresses that the recent attacks on the opposition press and the persecution since 2008 of opposition figures by abusing state apparatus are not conducive to free and fair elections.
If the citizens feel that the budding multiparty democracy after the 2008 elections is now being uprooted, the country will sink into chaos, hurting investor confidence and economic growth.
BERSIH 2.0 stresses that a democratic Government that is secure in its own legitimacy will respect every citizen’s vote and embrace the existence of vibrant and diverse views and expression. More so if such a country like Malaysia internationally promotes a human rights agenda by its membership of the Human Rights Council.
All the three key media organs of the Opposition namely, Suara Keadilan,Rocket and Harakah may now be closed down. Earlier on, political cartoonist Zunar’s works had been banned.
All these hamper the electorate’s informed choice in a country where all mainstream newspapers and television channels are already strictly controlled by the Government through both censorship and ownership.
Right thinking members of the public have also observed with shock that since 2008, opposition figures have been undermined in many instances, from the Parliamentary Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial, the mysterious death of opposition political aide Teoh Beng Hock during Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission’s 11-hour investigation, to the latest arrest of Parti Keadilan Rakyat politician Badrul Hisham under the Sedition Act.
BERSIH 2.0 reminds the powers that be, that the Malaysian public will no longer be fooled by these maneuverings. There is far more to be gained for themselves and for the nation, if they strive to uphold the rule of law and democratic principles.
The government should take heed of Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s wisdom “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it……”
If indeed these acts of oppression persist, it will lead to the irresistible conclusion that we are really no different from other countries where democracy means nothing when put to the test, despite our pronouncements in the international arena, All patriotic Malaysians must arrest this trend immediately.
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan
for BERSIH 2.0 (Coalition for Clean and Fair Election)
BERSIH 2.0: Persecution of Opposition hurts political stability and economy