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Malaysia Prepares for Bersih 3.0 Sit-Down Protest

The Malaysian election reform movement Bersih (Clean) has organized a Bersih 3.0 Duduk Bantah (sit-in protest) on April 28 at Dataran Merdeka in Malaysia. The rally has three demands:

1. The Election Commission must resign, as it has failed in its responsibility and has lost the confidence of the public.
2. The electoral process must be cleaned before the 13th General Elections.
3. Invite international observers to observe the 13th General Elections.

Through BERSIH 3.0, we will continue our struggle for clean and fair elections, assembling and expressing our views peacefully as are our rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

The action is also the group’s reaction to the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Select Committee which Bersih dismissed as inadequate:

BERSIH 2.0 is of the belief that many of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Select Committee can be immediately implemented. We do not see the need to provide for a lengthy implementation period. We reiterate that BERSIH 2.0 has demanded that reforms should be implemented BEFORE the 13th General Elections are held.

BERSIH 2.0 is of the view that it is highly likely that the electoral fraud and other irregularities that are currently being perpetrated in Malaysia, and which have been and continue to be the concern of decent, fair-minded and peace-loving Malaysians, will continue unabated. A golden opportunity to right the wrongs and do something good for the benefit of Malaysians now and in the future has sadly been missed.

Last year’s Bersih 2.0 assembly gathered more than 50,000 people in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. It forced to government to acknowledge the demand for sweeping electoral reforms.

The rally last year turned violent when police dispersed the peaceful assembly. Below is a video teaser for Bersih 3.0 which also features some of the scenes from last year’s Bersih 2.0 assembly:

Dahlia Martin also summarizes the frustration of Bersih to the electoral reform recommendations submitted by the Parliament:

…many of the recommendations in the report did not carry timelines – meaning it was possible that a proposed reform might not be implemented in time for the next general election.

Bersih has responded quickly to the prospect of what they call the “dirtiest” ever elections Malaysia faces in its call for an April 28 global protest.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming has a study which questions the accuracy of the electoral roll:

Finally, through a detailed analysis of the Q4 2010, Q1 to Q3 quarterly updates and the Q3 2011 electoral roll, it was found that there were over 106 thousand voters who were removed without public display and almost 7 thousand who were added without public display.

Khoo Kay Peng advises the Election Commission to address the complaints raised by Bersih:

If the EC does not address the discrepancy in the electoral roll immediately and swiftly before the general election, the commission cannot avoid mounting pressure for the chairman and his committee to step down.

Its negative reaction so far gives credibility and relevance to Bersih 3.0. The authorities, especially the DBKL, should not try to frame the peaceful protest as a political campaign. It is a demonstration of people's frustration with the pace of reforms and a lack of sincerity from the ruling regime and its appointees.

EC has less than 48 hours to announce its plans to clean up the electoral roll or face a major protest against its impotency and irrelevance.

"Election Fraud by Numbers"

"Election Fraud by Numbers"

Jacqueline Ann Surin tackles some of the criticisms hurled against Bersih organizers:

No matter who supports Bersih 2.0 and now Bersih 3.0, the proof that there is a need for citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the current electoral system is in the numbers.

…in my opinion, seeking help from these political parties is a responsible choice, especially when in the past, the state and non-state actors have shown every indication of threatening violence, and with impunity, against peaceful citizens.

On Facebook, Dickie Buoy supports Bersih 3.0:

Even tho, my wife is no longer a Msian, and we are too far away from the’ nearest’ location for Bersih.

But in our hearts, we stil Willl be rooting for all of Us, who stand for the right 2B treated with respect. We stand for Justice. So so sad to see awful and heartless acts of police brutality on Innocent citizens who Want What is right. Stay Safe.

On Twitter, @adriene has a message for fellow netizens:

Years fm now, your grandkids will ask you if you were at #Bersih 3.0. Do you wanna tell them you slept in and watched Saturday cartoons? ;)

Bersih 3.0 is still coordinating with the police for the venue of the assembly. Bersih will be a global event too since support actions have been organized in 41 cities in 14 countries.

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