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Press Statement: 11 July 2011
Authorities cannot deny heavy handed action, all detainees must be released unconditionally immediately
Bersih 2.0 would like to formally extend its deepest condolences to the family of Allahyarham Baharuddin Ahmad on his passing on. From the reports we received, the primary factor in this tragic loss of life was the heavy handed action of the police and their complete failure to provide proper and timely medical aid to Allahyarham Baharuddin Ahmad.
This was only one of many actions by the police on the 9th of July that resulted in severe injury. There is clear video evidence showing the police firing tear gas into the compound of Tung Shin Hospital as well as numerous instances of police beating unarmed members of the public. A number of individuals including Member of Parliament YB Khalid Samad was also badly hurt when hit by a tear gas canister fired into the crowd. There are numerous other such instances. We encourage participants with photographic and video graphic evidence of such incidents to submit them to us.
These unwarranted attacks against a peaceful gathering of unarmed citizens are nothing short of shocking. These acts of violence were witnessed both by Malaysians and the rest of the world. They demonstrate beyond doubt the utter failure of the authorities to uphold and protect the most basic human rights that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
What is even more disappointing is the continuing denial of these actions by the Prime Minister and the Inspector General of the Police. The statement by the former that there was “no physical contact” in actions between the police and those who had gathered peacefully completely flies in the face of extensive video evidence, as does the statement of the IGP denying that tear gas was fired into the Tung Shin hospital grounds. We expect much higher standards of integrity from those entrusted with leading our nation and keeping it safe.
Six individuals continue to be detained without trial in complete contravention of their human rights. Member of Parliament YB Dr. Michael Jeyakumar has recently been admitted into the National Heart Institute and we are gravely concerned for his health and the well-being of all six detainees. They have done nothing wrong, and we insist that they be released immediately without any conditions.
We are also alarmed that police continue to arrest individuals simply for wearing Bersih t-shirts, as was reported in Sabah on Sunday night. There is absolutely no need for such paranoid harassment, and the authorities must stop these actions at once.
All these acts of repression have not diluted our resolve to push ahead for clean and fair elections. It is clear from the massive turnout on the 9th of July that a huge number of Malaysians agree that things are not right with our nation’s electoral system.
We have been moved by the continuing expression of positive experiences on the 9th of July, especially the #BersihStories on Twitter. The great solidarity and love for one another, across racial boundaries, that Malaysians have shown in the face of great adversity affirms that our shared desire for a better Malaysia burns brightly in all our hearts. Our commitment to electoral reform must and will reflect the great bravery and unity demonstrated on the 9th of July, and the spirit we witnessed will continue to be our inspiration.
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee comprises of:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Chairperson), Andrew Khoo, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Dr Farouk Musa, Haris Ibrahim, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh dan Zaid Kamaruddin.