Call for immediate release of Bersih leaders Maria Chin, Hishamuddin Rais, four Pakatan Harapan MPs/SA Anthony Loke, Zuraida, Tian Chua and Howard Lee and others arrested in government’s Bersih 5 crackdown

Deepavali is the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair.

Because of man’s imperfections and weaknesses, this will be an eternal struggle.

The successful Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, where Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region, gender, age or politics came out as one people for democracy symbolized the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair – which was all the more remarkable as it was achieved against the backdrop of great odds and obstacles caused by a six-week high-powered UMNO-sponsored Red Shirt campaign of racial provocations, threats, hatred and unashamed cyber-bullying to frustrate and thwart the Bersih 5 rally.

The Bersih 5 rally was a clarion declaration by Malaysians for Malaysia to become a democracy and not a kleptocrary.

It was history-making as it was the first gathering of Malaysians since the US Department of Justice (DOJ) kleptocratic action in July against multi-billion dollar 1MDB embezzlement and money-laundering to defend the honour and good name of Malaysia in national and international society from the infamy and ignominy of being regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”!

But the darkness has not been completed dispelled in Malaysia, even gaining ascendance in some new areas – as witnessed by the government’s undemocratic Bersih 5 crackdown with the indiscriminate arrest of Bersih 5 activists, Pakatan Harapan elected representatives and NGO activists.

DAP call for the immediate release of Bersih chairperson Maria Chin, Bersih leader Hishammuddin Rais and four Pakatan Harapan elected representatives, MPs Anthony Loke (Seremban), Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang) and Tian Chua (Batu) and Perak Assemblyman Howard Lee – who are still in detention in the Bersih 5 crackdown.

Tribute must be paid to the Malaysian police for ensuring that the Bersih 5 rally yesterday was quite incident-free.

It reaffirms my belief that the majority of the Royal Malaysian Police officers and personnel are law-abiding, who cherish police honour, dignity and morale which come from performing their police duties in a professional and non-partisan manner, to be the guardians of the Constitution, law and order of the country and not to play in any UMNO or Barisan Nasiponal political games.

The arrest of Bersih 5 organisers like Maria Chin, Mandeep Singh, Hishammuddin Rais and Safwan Anang and elected representatives from DAP and PKR like Anthony Loke (MP Seremban), Tian Chua (MP Batu), Zuraida Kamaruddin (MP Ampang), Howard Lee (ADUN Perak Pasir Pinju) and Ronnie Liu (former Selangor Exco) are a clear abuse of power by those in authority, and must be deplored in the strongest possible terms as a violation of the constitutional rights of Malaysians to free speech, expression and free assembly, as well as unprecedented threat to Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen from carrying out their duties as elected representatives of the people.

Maria’s detention under the Special Offences (Security Measures) Act 2012 as well as Section 124C of the Penal Code for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy is most deplorable, as it is clearly vicious, vengeful and vindictive.

Maria, Hishammuddin, Anthony, Zuraida, Tian Chua and Howard Lee should be released without delay or the world would regard Malaysia as entering a new darkness of repression and undemocratic rule because the Najib government is fighting for its life as a result of the Bersih 5 rally yesterday.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah