Home Newsletters 2016 Newsletters It’s Yellow T-Shirt time!

It’s Yellow T-Shirt time!

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The concerns over free and fair elections have been raised through previous Bersih rallies and will again be raised in Bersih 5, writes Prema Devaraj.

Yup, it’s that time again. Bersih 5 has been announced and will be held in November in KL.

The five demands are as follows:

1) Clean elections;
2) Clean government;
3) Strengthen parliamentary democracy;
4) Right to dissent;
5) Empowering Sabah and Sarawak.

A full elaboration of the demands can be found here.

This time round, there is to be a convoy from different parts of the country.

Now, you may be in the group which feels this:

For what ah this time?

Go and stand there and wear yellow; then what?

Aayoh, the red shirt people will come and kacau; then how?

Come on-lah….. how many Bersih before we are really Bersih…?

Saja nak tunjuk you boleh buat demo ka?

Then again you may be in the group which feels:

We have to do something … must show that we don’t want corruption in the government anymore;

The country is falling apart at the seams; look at our institutions!

The strength is in our solidarity; we must join in…

Or you could be part of the armchair critics group who will have endless analytical discussions on the size of the crowd and whether it is representative of Malaysians or chew over the strategy for change and the types of partners involved in this movement:

Should it be a purely civil society movement?

What is the role of the political parties? Will Pas join in if Amanah is present?

Should civil society work with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) or not? … and so on.

But while we sit and talk, the country continues to be divided and corruption just thrives. How desperately we want justice to be administered against the greedy but apparently untouchable elite who are bleeding the country dry.

Meantime please note that recently a former parking attendant was fined RM1,500 or three months jail because he collected a RM1 illegal parking charge.

Oh my! Just think what it would mean if those involved in the 1MDB fiasco and other questionable practices were actually charged with a crime and convicted and sentenced using a similar formula: pay back RM1,500 for every RM1 ‘taken’!

Government coffers would be full once again and all the current cuts to important services to the ordinary people including the government-sponsored legal aid scheme could continue and be improved.

For this to happen, there must an understanding of the difference between right and wrong and a conscience. Clearly this seems to be a difficult task for those who wield power or have some influence in righting the wrongs. See here, here and here.

We all know that the change we seek is not going to come overnight. It is going to be a long and arduous process. The next general election (due by 2018) will be fraught with challenges given the current disarray among the opposition and even more with the latest re-delineation exercise (many are calling it gerrymandering) being foisted on us by the Election Commission.

Objections to this proposed re-delineation must be made by 14 October 2016 and must include at least 100 voters from the affected constituency. So affected voters, please make the time and register your objection.

The concerns over free and fair elections have been raised through previous Bersih rallies and will again be raised in Bersih 5. We must be unrelenting in our quest to make these concerns heard and acted upon.

For those who care about the state of the nation, we must continue to work for and make repeated demands for accountability and good governance in a variety of ways of those in power (state or federal) – as they seem to be very hard of hearing and obviously have a poor grasp of the concepts of good governance.

Howard Zinn said, “To be neutral, to be passive in a situation is to collaborate with what is going on.”

I urge all readers to engage in peaceful and constructive action for a better Malaysia.

Go get your yellow T-shirt, join the convoy and see you at Bersih 5!

Prema Devaraj
Co-editor, Aliran newsletter
20 September 2016

P.S. Have you got your unique Time to Act Clock already?

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