MEDIA STATEMENT (17 OCTOBER 2016): BERSIH 2.0 asserts right to peaceful assembly

BERSIH 2.0 extends our thanks to PDRM for facilitating our BERSIH5 Convoy in all states. Their response to the violent UMNO red shirts is commendable.
The arrests of the three suspects reflect well on the police. One of them was definitely identified by the reporters as the one who had intimidated (including physically) and rudely asked them to delete their photos from the phones.
Having peaceful assemblies is primary to BERSIH 2.0 and we have been able to hold resolute to our principles and that has been our standard operating procedure (SOP). We have much to thank our supporters who have not only cooperated with us but bravely faced the UMNO red shirts in a peaceful manner.
BERSIH 2.0 therefore takes objection to the separate statements made by Jamal Yunos and Liow Tiong Lai who claimed that red shirts would not exist if there were no yellow shirts.
Both of them have missed the point as to why Malaysians took to the street. What they should have said was that if we have better laws and policies, there will not be any BERSIH rallies.
A failed system
BERSIH 2.0 and its hundreds of thousands of supporters took to the streets because national polices and laws and institutions have failed to give adequate protection in dealing with key pertinent issues facing this country, such as the grand corruption related to 1MDB and Najib Razak, inability to deliver clean and fair elections, silencing dissent through repressive laws and instituting more draconian ones, and failure to address a possible economic slowdown.
Unfortunately, the powers of the institutions have been clipped and disrobed of any independence.
Malaysians have looked towards the BN government, ministers and institutions to correct the wrongdoings but over the past 3 years, they have failed to do so. Instead, they have defended the corruption scandal of 1MDB and Najib Razak, undermined the electoral process through gerrymandering and malapportionment and gave passport to UMNO thugs to bring back violent racial politics with threats of May 13.
Worse, the government has remained silent on the violent UMNO red shirts thugs and distanced themselves from these crude racist gangsters, without ending the violence. The blame game and sweeping violence under the carpet does not bode well for good governance and integrity of this country. Najib and his cabinet Ministers have failed this nation and they should resign so that democratic reforms can take place.
Not protesting is not an option. BERSIH 2.0 and Malaysians will continue to push for institutional reforms, good governance and free and fair elections for this country.
Signed by BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee Members