Women’s Aid Organisation supports BERSIH 2.0

23 June 2011
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) fully supports BERSIH 2.0 and its demands for a vibrant and transparent democracy in Malaysia.  We support the BERSIH 2.0 gathering on 9 July 2011 and join the call for clean, free and fair elections.
A just and transparent system of government, and an accompanying just and transparent electoral process, is essential for Malaysia.  Every voter deserves to know that their vote counts, and that the outcome of elections reflects the public will.  The fulfilment of BERSIH 2.0’s eight demands is essential to ensure public confidence in the electoral system.  These demands are to clean up the electoral roll, reform postal voting, use indelible ink, establish a minimum campaign period of 21 days, ensure free and fair access to the media, strengthen public institutions, get rid of corruption and put a stop to dirty politics.
The recent attacks against BERSIH 2.0, including personal attacks and threats against its Chairperson, Ambiga Sreenevasan, must be condemned.  As a human rights defender and a woman who has achieved much in her career, including becoming the President of the Bar Council, Ambiga has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to social justice.
As a leader with a strong social conscience, Ambiga is to be commended for her tireless work, which is not for personal gain, but for the betterment of Malaysia and its electoral system.  Unfortunately many other leaders in this country cannot be said to have the same drive to make positive changes to our country.
Everyone who calls Malaysia home cannot dispute the need for clean, free and fair elections.  And these free and fair elections must be accompanied with access to clear and impartial information from the media, in order for all Malaysian voters to make an informed choice at the ballot box.  The biased reporting of the mainstream media insults the intelligence of Malaysians, who must be given the chance to decide for themselves the merits of each candidate based on their policies.
Malaysia’s Federal Constitution, our nation’s guiding framework, enshrines the right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression, and the right to assemble peaceably.
WAO will be exercising this constitutional right by walking with BERSIH 2.0 on 9 July and we encourage all to come and support the call for a vibrant and transparent democracy for Malaysia.