PRESS STATEMENT – 08th May 2012

08th May 2012


Bersih 2.0 welcomes the offer made by Mr Frank La Rue of Guatemala, who currently serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, to visit Malaysia and to carry out an investigation into the events of the BERSIH 3.0 assembly on 28 April 2012.  Such an investigation ought to examine the role of Bersih 2.0 as the organiser and the responsibility of the Royal Malaysia Police and the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur in facilitating such an assembly.  We are ready to give every cooperation in such an investigation.
On 28 April 2012 Malaysia experienced arguably the largest peaceful gathering ever of approximately 250,000 people who came on to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to support BERSIH 2.0’s call for clean, free and fair elections.  Gatherings also took place at 80 other cities around the world in support of the globally-faced international movement for clean, free and fair elections.  We express concern that
the Malaysian Government appears to be requesting governments not disposed to democratic reforms to launch a crack-down on Malaysians living in their countries who participated in the global BERSIH 3.0 event on 28 April 2012.  If these reports are true, it is a negative development that must be deplored, and we urge all Malaysians to unite in support of the safety of our fellow citizens.
We are confident that Mr. La Rue, should he receive a formal invitation from the Malaysian Government, will be able to conduct a transparent and thorough investigation in order to provide an independent determination as to the exact events of the BERSIH 3.0 assembly on 28 April 2012 with respect to the violence that occurred later that day.  In an unprecedented show of force, many instances of brutality by the Royal Malaysia Police against peaceful participants were reported.  Members of the media were also not spared from these acts of brutality.  Disproportionate force was also applied in an indiscriminate response and widespread retaliation for the breaching of police barricades, even though the court-ordered exclusion of Dataran Merdeka, the intended venue of the peaceful assembly, was not disobeyed.
While the Malaysian Government has announced the formation of an independent panel to review the events of 28 April 2012, we call on the Malaysian Government to allow Mr. La Rue into Malaysia to carry out his investigation as a matter of urgency.  Indeed we also recommend that the Malaysian Government issue an immediate invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Mr. Maina Kiai of Kenya, to also visit Malaysia and to undertake an investigation.
We say that it is important that valuable lessons are learned from this episode in our nation’s history so that the freedoms of expression, assembly and association enshrined in our Federal Constitution are not rendered illusory.  If indeed the Government has nothing to hide and is keen for the truth to be established, in the interests of the Rakyat, then this would be an ideal occasion and
opportunity to do so.
For further information, you may contact us at:
Email:  [email protected]
Tel: 03-7772 3275 or Fax: 03-7784 4978
Steering Committee
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:

Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah, Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rais, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh, Zaid Kamaruddin.