The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) warns the Najib administration that it will only face greater public wrath if it chooses to persecute protesters in the May Day protest yesterday, rather than listening to the widespread anger of Malaysians against the Goods and Sales Tax (GST) expressed.
Bersih 2.0 condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of 29 people and summoning of more political leaders and activists including Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, former chairperson of Bersih 2.0; YB Anthony Loke, MP for Seremban and assembly member for Chennah; Rafizi Ramli, MP for Pandan; Khalid Samad, MP for Shah Alam; S Arutchelvan, secretary general of Parti Sosialis Malaysia; and Mandeep Singh, secretariat member of Bersih 2.0.
Angered by the new tax that hurts everyone’s pocket when billions of ringgits are lost in 1MDB and Najib’s family continuing their extravagant lifestyle with public funds or wealth of dubious sources, the public will not be cowed into silence, Bersih 2.0 stresses.
Bersih 2.0 calls upon the public to show support at the Jinjang Police Station if the police plan to incarcerate the protest leaders and participants for five days till Tuesday through the long weekend.
Bersih 2.0 reminds the Najib administration that it is a minority government supported by only 47 per cent of voters and kept in power by the Election Commission via malapportionment and gerrymandering of constituencies.
A leader lacking legitimacy, Najib should therefore humbly accept that the May Day protest was a peaceful and orderly protest of Malaysians demanding the cancellation of GST – an exercise of their constitutional freedom guaranteed by Article 10(1)(a) and 1(b) of the Federal Constitution.
There is no excuse of post-protest harassment and persecution of protest leaders and participants regardless what law is used, Peaceful Assembly Act or Penal Code. The police are abusing their power and betraying their constitutional duty by attempting to silence the public.
Bersih 2.0 calls for the immediate release of the detainees, the end to the post-protest persecution and also the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to end the abuse and politicisation of the police power.
Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0, which consists of:
Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Deputy Chairperson: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan; Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah; national representatives: Assoc. Prof. Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusof, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew; vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b. Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b. Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).