[FMT] Perth gears up for Bersih 3.0

Perth gears up for Bersih 3.0

Stephanie Sta Maria | April 11, 2012
The pre-rally was held to discuss plans for the sit-in rally later this month.

PETALING JAYA: Bersihkan Malaysia Perth (BMP) kicked off the run-up to the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 with a “Yellow Barbecue” in Burswood Park.
About 30 people gathered on April 9 to discuss coordination plans ahead of the sit-in rally which will be held in front of the Malaysian consulate in Perth.
BMP committee member, Chom Lee, told FMT that the announcement of Bersih 3.0 had triggered a “great sense of excitement” that has spread to Bersih 3.0 global locations.
He noted that the online community has been abuzz with circulations of video clips, posters and songs related to the rally in a show of solidarity for Bersih 3.0.
“It is absolutely delightful to see more Malaysians are standing up for democratic reforms by organising simultaneous rallies in their own global locations,” he said via e-mail.
“The next and most important step is to promote and mobilise people to attend the rally, and we’re trying our best to reach out to the 20,000 Malaysians in Perth.”
Also present at the Yellow Barbecue was Tenaganita director and co-founder, Irene Fernandez, who was on holiday with her family there.
In addressing the crowd, she emphasised the importance of participation in Bersih 3.0 which she called “the mother of all battles in Malaysia for democracy, freedom and justice”.
Fernandez spoke of recent national issues that have led to Bersih 3.0 including the movement of pro-establishment voters into opposition strongholds and issuance of identity cards to migrants.
“In spite of PSC [Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms], nothing has actually happened except a lot of wool-pulling over our eyes,” she said.
Delay tactics

“These are delay tactics by (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) so he has time to distribute more handouts, destroy the opposition’s reputation and reduce voter confidence by whipping up racial and religious conflicts.”
Drawing on her experience in global advocacy, Fernandez said international support went a long way in boosting a move towards change and urged BMP to reach out to the Australian government.
“It is very important for a democractic country like Australia to speak up and show that it wants to build relationships with an equally democratic country,” she stated.
“When Malaysia sees that there is concern from the outside then [they cannot deny] that there is something wrong on the inside.”
To date, 20 cities worldwide, including in Japan, Austria and Taiwan, have confirmed participation and the list is expected to grow over the next two weeks.
Australia itself has seven Bersih 3.0 locations nationwide and 200 Malaysians had turned up for Bersih 2.0 in Perth on July 9, 2011.
The Bersih organisers confirmed last week it would hold its third – and possibly final rally before the next general election – after the PSC delivered a report that failed to address fundamental electoral issues.