Malaysian civil society organization, Bersih, is holding a two-day rally in the capital Kuala Lumpur starting from yesterday. It is asking for the corrupt Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down and for free and fair elections, transparency in the government, the right of assembly and other demands. The organization has called on 45 cities and 25 million people worldwide have taken to the streets.

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini

Bersih (Malay: Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil, English: Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) was established in July of 2005. It was transformed from a joint operation by the Electoral Reform Commission. The alliance aims to promote Malaysia’s electoral system and procedural reform for a free and fair election.

Regarding the electoral reform, Bersih has the following eight demands:

1. Accurate electoral registers
2. Use of non-fading ink
3. Reformation of the postal ballot system
4. At least 21 days of campaign period;
5. Free and fair use of the media
6. Strengthen public mechanisms
7. Put an end to corruption and abuse of power
8. Put an end to dirty political tactics

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini

This is the fourth Bersih rally and is called Bersih 4.0. The five requests of this meeting are:

1. Free and fair elections
2. A transparent government
3. Rights to demonstrate
4. Strengthening parliamentary democracy
5. Saving the national economy

(Report from KiniTV

In July, Wall Street Journal revealed that investigations found the Malaysian state-owned investment fund, 1MDB, transferred nearly US$ 700 million to Prime Minister Najib Razak private account, but Najib’s office has denied it. This is why Bersih initiated the two-day rally and hopes to call on tens of thousands of people to take to the streets in protest.

Apple Daily reports that since the Malaysian government has determined assembly to be illegal, it will probably suppress the rallies.

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini reports that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission announced on August 27 that it will block websites calling for people to participate in the Bersih rally. Some network users have been unable to log in to Bersih’s website as for August 27.

On August 29, Bersih said they will use the mobile applications, Firechat, to post announcements if their website crashes.

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini

Photo Credit:Malaysiakini

On August 27, in support of the Bersih rally, Malaysian media company, Malaysiakini, said the site will be fully open so readers can obtain free information regrading the rally.

CNA reports on August 28, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission announced the banning of all websites encouraging people to participate in the of all advocacy, dissemination and encourage people to participate in the Bersih 4.0.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said in a statement, the rally is an illegal activity. Not only will it generate anxiety, but also trigger doubt in people of all ethnicity and religion. The commission also says the assembly will build up negativity towards the government and damage the nation’s image, so it has decided to ban any promotion. It encourages citizens to report any website content that might affect the country’s stability, peace, security and economic stability.

According to Malaysiakini, as of 3:30 pm yesterday, an estimated number of 80,000 people have participated in the rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur.


Photo Credit:Malaysiakini (BM Version)

Translated by Olivia Yang