DAP pledges support for Bersih rally
KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — The DAP said today it fully supports the Bersih 2.0 march on July 9 for a clean and fair election, in response to the non-governmental organisation’s (NGO) call for politicians from both sides of the divide to attend the rally.
DAP National Organising Secretary Teresa Kok said that the NGO can count on DAP to mobilise their party members and supporters to march for the rally.
PAS has also promised to bring hundreds of thousands of supporters to the rally in the city, ahead of speculation that a general election will be called within a year.
“For too long, the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) has undermined the right of the rakyat to elect a government of their choice through corrupt and illegal electioneering,” Kok claimed in a statement.
The Seputeh MP pointed out that gerrymandering, which is the manipulation of electoral composition, and malapportionment, which is the manipulation of electoral size, is rampant.
“A clear example of malapportionment is how during the March 2008 general elections, the constituency of Putrajaya, with its 7,000 voters, sent one MP to Parliament while my constituency of Seputeh, which has 77,000 voters, also had only one seat in Parliament. It is unjust that the vote of a single voter in Putrajaya carries 11 times the weight of a voter in Seputeh.
“Furthermore, in the March 2008 elections, BN won only 51 percent of the 7.9 million votes cast and yet with that, they controlled 63 percent of the seats in the Dewan Rakyat, i.e. 140 of 222 seats,” she said.
Opposition parties and activists are gearing up to march next month in the second such rally by Bersih, the first being in 2007 where up to 50,000 were reported to have gathered in the capital, with many being dispersed by water cannons and tear gas launched by the police.
The 2007 rally was said to play a big role in bringing record gains for the opposition electoral pact in Election 2008, where it swept five state governments and won 82 parliamentary seats.
Citing a news article, Kok added that if Sabah and Sarawak were excluded, BN would have won all except two seats, their popular vote dips to 49.8 percent in Peninsular Malaysia, and yet they were allowed to form the federal government.
“I express my full support and admiration to Ambiga Sreenevasan, Chairperson of Bersih 2.0 for her leadership and unwavering commitment to the cause of clean and fair elections, unbowed by the relentless attacks upon Bersih 2.0 by the Barisan Nasional government, Utusan Malaysia and Malay supremacist group Perkasa.
“I condemn all these attacks, particularly Perkasa’s plan to hold a counter-protest and have a direct clash with Bersih 2.0 supporters on July 9 itself. It’s clear that Perkasa is bent upon violence,” she said.
The Selangor state executive councillor added that Perkasa’s “hostility” towards Bersih 2.0 also proves that Perkasa is a “volatile group with no clear mission and zero integrity”.
“They claim to be a Malay rights group yet they declare crusades against Christians one day, protest against peaceful anti-ISA groups the next and now they object to electoral reform. These feral positions taken by Perkasa lend credence to the popular belief that Perkasa is really UMNO’s own extremism by another name,” Kok said.
Umno daily Utusan Malaysia has also urged Malaysians to boycott the protest and quoted Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s warning that “it will be chaotic when those for and against the street demonstration clash”.
Bersih 2.0 Chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan had said election malpractices had marred therecent Sarawak state election, citing vote-buying and abuse of government machinery.
She listed Bersih 2.0’s demands in its upcoming rally: clean up the electoral roll, reform postal voting, use indelible ink, introduce a minimum 21-day campaign period, allow free access to media, strengthen institutions, and end dirty politics.