Pusat KOMAS press statement in support of BERSIH 2.0

Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS) strongly condemns the use of racial elements in describing the BERSIH 2.0 rally. We fully support the demands by BERSIH 2.0 calling for electoral reforms based on the principles of free and fair elections in Malaysia.

Below are the 8 demands for the BERSIH 2.0 rally;
1.Clean the Electoral Roll
2.Reform Postal Ballot
3.Use the Indelible Ink
4.Minimum 21 days Campaign Period
5.Free and Fair Access to Media
6.Strengthen Public Institution
7.Stop Corruption
8.Stop Dirty Politics
However these demands have been twisted intentionally to fan racist sentiments by certain irresponsible parties and highlighted in the Utusan Malaysia Newspaper. The latest report by Utusan Malaysia claims that BERSIH 2.0 is funded by foreign Christian funds suggesting that the BERSIH’s initiatives have certain religious interests.
The planned BERSIH 2.0 peaceful march on July 9th is our way of expressing our support for the principles of free and fair elections. The freedom of assembly and expression is guaranteed under Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
In the past week, we are appalled by the number of irresponsible people making baseless statements to fan racial, religious and social conflicts amongst Malaysians. For example Perkasa leader Ibrahim Ali is one such ignorant and misguided person who warned “Chinese communities to stay home and stock food” implying threats of racial violence. This same person also attacked BERSIH chairperson, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, calling her a “Hindu women” and painting her as an enemy to Islam.
We would like to strongly reiterate that BERSIH 2.0’s peaceful march is a show of force by ordinary Malaysians to uphold the basic principles of free and fair elections. The event is not meant to incite religious or racial sentiments in any way whatsoever.
On the other hand those irresponsible parties who continue to fan racial sentiments by slandering and distorting BERSIH 2.0’s aims should be accountable to their lies and false statements. We urge upon the relevant authorities especially the Police to investigate these elements instead of making threats and using their authority to
intimidate Malaysians from participating in the march on July 9th 2011.
Lena Hendry
Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat