MEDIA STATEMENT (2 AUGUST 2018): Utusan Malaysia Misleading Report Condemned

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (BERSH 2.0) condemns Utusan Malaysia’s report today on LGBT and the HIV infection with a photo showing a LGBT flag in Bersih 5 rally with a caption of “Flag of LGBT groups flown in illegal assembly of Bersih 5.0 in Kuala Lumpur in 2016”.

BERSIH 2.0 maintains that Bersih 5 rally was not an illegal assembly as the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. This was even made crystal clear when Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed an injunction by the police to stop the rally on 17 November 2016.

The objective of BERSIH 2.0 holding Bersih 5 rally was to demand for free and fair election and to clean the country from corruption following the 1MDB corruption. BERSIH 2.0 welcomed whoever that support our call for democracy and free and fair election and the participants of Bersih 5 rally did come from all walks of life irrespectively of gender, ethnicity, religion, party affiliations and lifestyle, including the current Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yasin.

Clearly, the story of Utusan Malaysian is not factually correct on Bersih 5 rally, and it has nothing to do at all with protecting democracy or free and fair election, which was the purpose of Bersih 5 rally being held in 2016. We question the motive behind Utusan Malaysia in placing a photo of Bersih rally along with a story on HIV infection.

It is misleading with ill intention and politically motivated.

This is not the first time Utusan Malaysia making misleading news report or even lies about BERSIH 2.0. We therefore welcome the decision of the Education Ministry for universities and schools to stop subscribing to Utusan Malaysia.

BERSIH’s struggle is and has always been about empowering the rakyat, as clearly pointed in our BERSIH5 caption in 2016 “Satukan Tenaga Demi Malaysia Baru”. Now that we are in Malaysia Baru, media practitioners should know well the public does not tolerate misinformation, distortion and exclusion.

BERSIH 2.0 reserves our right to take legal action against Utusan Malaysian for this report.

Issued by:
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee