Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 25th April 2012:
“428” Bersih 3.0 acid test of Najib's “political transformation” to make Malaysia “best democracy in the world”
The April 28 Bersih 3.0 peaceful “Duduk Bantah” rally at Dataran Merdeka for clean, free and fair elections is an acid test of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's “political transformation” to make Malaysia, in his own words, “the best democracy in the world”.
In the past seven months, the Najib government had been trying to undo the damage caused by the disastrous government mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally for free and fair elections, which saw an arrogant, ham-fisted, high-handed and mindless repression and clampdown such as the government ban on Bersih, unjustified PSM arrests under Emergency Ordinance, arbitrary arrests for wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirts or just wearing yellow.
In his Malaysia Day message on Sept. 16 last year, Najib promised a “political transformation” with a slew of reform of undemocratic and draconian laws like the repeal of the Internal Security Act and the revocation of the four Emergency Proclamations.
At that time, I had specifically asked: “Will the replacements for the repeal or removal of repressive laws and measures result in the reincarnation of these very same draconian features in a new format, e.g. repeal of ISA but enactment of new law which could be described as ISA2?”
This is what have come to pass in the past seven months. Although there have been reform or repeal of draconian laws, they have been basically “one step forward, two steps backward” exercises, whether enactment of the Peaceful Assembly Act; repeal of the Internal Security Act and replacement by Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill as well as amendments to the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act; and amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Universities and University Colleges Act.
This is why Pakatan Rakyat MPs could not support the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill although we unanimously welcome the repeal of the Internal Security Act to end its pernicious detention-without-trial powers.
If the Prime Minister is sincere in wanting to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”, let him make a start by ending all government obstacles and objections to the holding of a peaceful gathering of Malaysians at Dataran Merdeka this Saturday in a “sit-down” protest to demand free, fair and clean elections in Malaysia.
“709” has gone down in Malaysian history as the day of empowerment of the real 1Malaysia – where all races and religions came together to demand a “Clean Malaysia”, not just for clean elections but also in the political system and all aspects of national governance.
Let “428” go down in Malaysian history, not only as demonstration of greater empowerment of decent and patriotic Malaysians for a “Clean Malaysia”, but as a testament that the Prime Minister is sincere in wanting to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world”.
I say, lets start with the immediat revocation of the unjustified, unreasonable and undemocratic government ban on Bersih – especially as the Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Justice Rohana Yusof is asking the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to clarify the government declaration of Bersih as an illegal organisation after the Home Minister's recent change of stand in conceding that the Bersih 3.0 rally is not a security threat.
I will be at the Bersih 3.0 “Duduk Bantah” rally at Dataran Merdeka on Saturday. Let all decent and patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, gender or age, come forward whether at Dataran Merdeka, other parts of Malaysia or throughout the world, to send out one common message in peace and harmony: Malaysians want a “Clean” elections as a prerequsite to a “Clean Malaysia”!
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor