BERSIH 2.0’s ‘mandate’ is to oversee elections that affect public representation in government

 MEDIA STATEMENT (17 May 2014)

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (BERSIH 2.0) is not surprised by the comments made by Tan Sri Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah. His remarks deflected attention away from the Terengganu fiasco. This has been the practice of those in power when accountability is in question.
Nonetheless, allow BERSIH 2.0 to explain to politicians like Ibrahim Abu Shah how we view accountability.
BERSIH 2.0’s statement merely responded to a comment made by a former New Straits Times group chief editor. Our statement, dated 14 May 2014, said:

“The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (BERSIH 2.0) is extremely disturbed by how the Terengganu political crisis transpired, (from the sudden resignation of the former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said) right down to the speedy ‘resolution’ to the momentarily hung state assembly. The latter development, in particular, lent much credence to former New Straits Times group chief editor Datuk Kadir Jasin’s prediction that the crisis could be resolved if “the price is right”.

BERSIH 2.0 was only following up to seek the truth and this was stated in our statement:

“BERSIH 2.0 urges anyone who knows of any attempt to buy or sell political affiliation with monetary gain – especially using public funds or other concessions – to blow the whistle as corruption of such order will definitely destroy the country.”

Elected representatives are chosen by the people based on the content of their character and also their political affiliation. Any decision to change or distance themselves from their political affiliation which is one of the bases of their election, should only be exercised in very limited circumstances.
The Terengganu fiasco showed that its elected representatives have irresponsibly and arbitrarily distanced themselves from their political affiliation only to backtrack on their decision soon after. This is a public matter involving public funds and any allegation of corruption in this respect should be taken seriously and not ignored nonchalantly.
Lest it be forgotten, BERSIH 2.0 is set up to enhance democracy in the country by advocating for integrity in the process and system of electing the government. We are duty-bound to hold government and elected representatives responsible for their actions and use of public funds.
BERSIH 2.0 is not an overseer for all manner of elections – only those that affect the general public in terms of representation in government. That is our ‘mandate’. As for the PKR elections, or any party and even NGO elections, it is an internal matter that must be addressed by the body’s direct stakeholders – i.e. the members themselves. So, just as citizens – as ‘members’ of their country – have to hold their governments accountable, party members too must hold their party leadership accountable to ensure the integrity of the party elections and results.
BERSIH 2.0 will stay focused on our mission and continue pressuring for electoral reform to ensure that the government in power is there solely at the behest of the people through clean and fair elections.
Issued by: The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0, which comprises:
Maria Chin Abdullah (Chairperson), Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa (Deputy Chairperson), Masjaliza Hamzah (Treasurer), Farhana Abdul Halim, New Sin Yew, Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah Vice-chair), Ahmad b. Awang Ali (Sarawak Vice-chair), Abd Halim b. Wan Ismail (East Peninsula Vice-chair), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula Vice-chair), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula Vice-chair) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula Vice-chair).