Bersih 5 will go on with or without Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and secretariat manager Mandeep Singh, the electoral reform group’s steering committee said.
“Maria’s and Mandeep’s arrests have changed nothing. Bersih 5 will go on as planned.
“We hope that this heavy-handed action on the part of the authorities will spur Malaysians into coming down to the streets tomorrow, not just to demand for institutional reforms but to protest injustices happening in the country,” it said in a statement today.
According to Bersih, the police raid this afternoon involved 10 policemen from Bukit Aman.
They said the raid was conducted under Section 124(C) of the Penal Code, in relation to Bersih’s alleged funding by the Open Society Foundations.
However, the police officers did not produce a warrant when asked for one.
“They said one was not needed. They had also refused to elaborate on the evidence or documents that they were looking for.
“Instead, they threw their weight around and harassed the staff,” Bersih said.
According to Bersih, while lawyers Melissa Sasidaran and R Sivarasa were allowed into the office, the police had threatened to kick them out several times as they were getting “annoyed” with their questions.
“They were eventually asked to leave. No one else was allowed in, including other lawyers, Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan, Robyn Choi and N Surendran,” Bersih said.
“Bersih 2.0 condemns the raid as a blatant abuse of power and pure harassment and intimidation.
“No warrant or legitimate reason for the raid and arrests was provided. The authorities have resorted to such desperate measures in a vain attempt to stop the Bersih 5 rally.”
They also criticised how Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos, easily chargeable under several sections of the Penal Code, still roamed free.
“The double standards are glaring,” Bersih said.