The people are taking to the streets for Bersih 4 because they face being “cheated once again” out of another election, said former Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan.
In her comment piece in the New York Times today, said the mega rally was critical as the country’s ruling party is “facing its greatest crisis of legitimacy yet”, compounded by the 1MDB scandal.
“Malaysia is a country adrift. The government is failing us.
“The Election Commission (EC) is compromised. The rule of law is eroding. The people of Malaysia must take to the streets to reclaim our democracy and the soul of our nation,” wrote the former Bersih co-chairperson.
She described how the EC has been allegedly instrumental in keeping BN in power for decades, particularly in redrawing constituency boundaries in favour of the ruling party.
This, she said was evident in how BN managed to win 60 percent of the parliamentary seats in the 13th general election in 2013 with just over 47 percent of the popular vote.
“And instead of correcting the system’s existing flaws, it appears to be exacerbating them,” she lamented.
Najib needs S'wak win
Ambiga warned this would happen again in the coming Sarawak elections with the new redelineations being steamrolled ahead after the Court of Appeal overturned a judgement declaring the process null and void.
“Once again, the people of Malaysia risk being cheated out of an election,” she said.
“Despite this challenge and civil society’s longstanding complaints that the EC is not independent, Shahidan Kassim, a minister in the prime minister’s office, recently declared being “satisfied” with its performance.
“This stands to reason: Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is under growing pressure to resign over financial improprieties, could use a big win in the Sarawak election, to steady himself before the national election.
“To prevent this, a citizens’ movement known as Bersih […] is calling for a peaceful mass rally on August 29 to 30 to demand free and fair elections and a clean government - starting with Najib’s resignation.”