The Bersih 4 rally is a series of planned rallies to be carried out on 29 to 30 August in major cities in Malaysia, namely Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. The rallies are to be organised by The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Malay: Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil) or Bersih (meaning clean in Malay) a coalition of non-government organisations which seeks to reform the current electoral system in Malaysia to ensure free, clean and fair elections. The rallies are being carried out with the objective to calling for clean and transparent governance in Malaysia as well as strengthening the parliamentary democracy system. The rallies are a followup to similar rallies that were carried out in 2007, 2011 and 2012. 30 August is the day before National Day which is on 31 August.
In the aftermath of the general elections in Malaysia in 2013 there were accusations by the opposition and non-governmental organisations that the government had cheated its way to another election victory. A series of rallies in 2013 were carried out protesting the results of the elections, whereby the opposition garnered a plurality of the votes but still lost the election due to the government gaining the most seats in the Westminster system of elections.
In 2015, a corruption scandal began to engulf Malaysia, involving a government super fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad which was chaired by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. There were a series of exposes by online investigative blogs, namely Sarawak Report and and major news portal Wall Street Journal that money from the fund was being siphoned off from the fund into personal accounts of Najib and his closed relations. A Public Accounts Committee compromising government and opposition members of parliament was setup to investigate if there were major wrongdoings on the part of Najib and 1MDB. However in July, the government began to stifle news reports regarding the 1MDB scandal by blocking the website Sarawak Report, which had in been in forefront of exposes revealing the losses incurred by 1MDB and its connection to Najib, the from Malaysian internet community. The government then began to withdraw the publishing license of The Edge, a financial and news publication which was reporting the 1MDB scandal. Furthermore on 28 July Prime Minister Najib began removing detractors in his cabinet and government such as Abdul Gani Patail, the Attorney General of Malaysia who was part of the task force investigating the 1MDB scandal, his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and four other ministers who were said to be critical of 1MDB and called for Najib to explain the issue to the Malaysian public. The Public Accounts Committee investigating the 1MDB scandal was also suspended indefinitely with the promotion of four of its members to Deputy Ministers by Najib.
Currently there is a court case challenging the re-delineation of electoral boundaries in Sarawak, which if carried out would affect the next state elections in Sarawak. The re-delineation of the seats in Sarawak would see an increase of 71 to 82 seats in the state assembly, but the current contention is there is no proper explanation was given for the planned increase. Bersih has stated that the case, which has been successfully appealed by the Election Commission would give allow it to carry out acts of gerrymandering and malapportionment.
Bersih has set forth the following main objectives for their rallies:
- Free and Fair Elections (Bersihkan Pilihanraya)
- A Transparent Government (Kerajaan Bersih)
- The Right to Demonstrate (Hak Membantah)
- Strengthening the Parliamentary Democracy System (Kukuhkan Demokrasi Parlimen)
- Saving the national economy (Selamatkan Ekonomi Malaysia)
Bersih is also seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Najib over the issue of corruption and the government to introduce a host of institutional reforms to put an end to prime-ministerial corruptions since Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s time.
Hundreds of rally-goers began assembling at the four gathering points in the city several hours ahead of the start of the rally at 2pm.
Thousands of rally-goers have been seen gathering in many cities around the globe in solidarity with the Bersih rallies in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
It is time for the people to rise up and voice out...As this post is written, the momentum is building up tremendously beyond the initial estimation. I posted this because I consider this to be a historical event for this country. Timely moment for Merdeka. I hope the rally would not be marred by violence like previously. I hope this would awaken the people and tell the government to focus on development of the country and the welfare of the people, regardless of race, religion or creed. This hope is not for me, but for all future generations of this country. The vicious cycle has to be broken or at least keep under control...I am just worried about those hate-mongers and ultra nationalists, whom would always use such events to blame it on the minorities. Sigh....