Written by Mazida Desa
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or known as Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil or Bersih in Malay is a non-government organisations (NGOs) coalition which seeks to reform the current electoral system in Malaysia to ensure free, clean and fair elections. It was officially formed on 23rd November 2006 as a joint communiqué that comprised leaders from political parties, civil society groups and NGOs. Bersih has accused the Election Commission under Prime Minister’s Department for manipulating the electoral process for giving an unfair advantage to the ruling National Front coalition. Bersih claimed that the electoral roll was spoiled by irregularities such as gerrymandering, phantom voters, mal apportionment and fraud postal votes. On 10th November 2007, Bersih organised the first rally with 10,000 to 40,000 turnouts and held a public demonstration at Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur. Supporters of Bersih were urged to wear yellow T-shirts as a symbol of protest.
Background of the Media
Utusan Malaysia or literally translated from Malay to English as “The Malaysian Courier” is a Malay-language newspaper published in Malaysia. Distinctive for its blue masthead as its logo and trademark, Utusan Malaysia was first published in Jawi in 1939. Utusan Malaysia became an influential medium for the people to voice out their opinions towards the ruling of British Government in Malaya.
BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that is responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and also current affairs. The department is the world’s largest broadcast news organization and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online news coverage.
Utusan Online released a statement that Bersih movement is associated with a Christian group based outside of the country. According to the official statement, it is intended to reduce the post of Prime Minister due to injustice in governing the country. According to BBC News, the goal is to push Bersih electoral reform in Malaysia and the government claimed that the action was unfair. In addition, BBC News earned the story by saying there are jets of water cannons from the Net group. Utusan Online discussed the financial funds collected by Bersih that has reached millions of ringgit.
It is not logic if the analysts assumed that the money would be channelled and sponsored from the Christians. There is a revelation of the missing money and that is the cause that triggers chaos and riots. The source also pointed out that the biggest contributor to Bersih movement was affiliated with the Christian. In the meantime, the source also explained that the Net also received financial assistance from NGOs based in United States, Britain and several Asian countries whereas according to BBC News, there was an incident pursuing and using weapons among them.
In addition, the newspaper accused Bersih movement made a scapegoat by the Election Commission to legalise the illegal demonstration and had a net movement of the political mastermind. According to Awani, Bersih 4.0 or a classified banned rally in Malaysia also took place in several other cities around the world. According to Foreign Ministry, the respected bodies will collect information from Malaysians who are involved with illegal assembly Bersih 4.0 abroad. Legal actions can be taken against them later. The Ministry’s Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the monitoring was conducted by Wisma Putra and their identities will be submitted to the national authorities so that actions will be taken according to the law of the country
Chronology of the Bersih Rally
Starting on 10 November 2007 at 5.30pm, Bersih 2.0 committee failed to submit a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara. However, he described that the association achieve its goals and they also slammed the rest of the participants, including those from other groups. It ends at 7:30 am the next day, there were numbers of trucks of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), including those equipped with water cannons along Jalan Maharajalela and towards Masjid Negara and Masjid Jamek.
The evidence of the Bersih is when the Prime Minister felt threatened by this movement and start to take action to this group. The purpose of this motion is to seek justice on behalf of the people and attempt to overthrow Prime Minister. Bersih rally has been initiated since 2007.