KUALA LUMPUR – August 29, 2015: The illegal Bersih 4.0 rally attracted almost 30,000 protesters from all over the country on the first day of its 34-hour assembly.
Participants of the rally which commenced at 2pm today had started to gather as early as 11am.
They gathered at meeting points, namely Sogo Square, Central Market, Brickfields and the National Mosque.
The crowd, mostly clad in the Bersih yellow T-shirt flooded the city streets which at length convened at Jalan Raja, in the vicinity of Merdeka Square under a close surveillance of the police force.
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, who took the centre stage at 4.20pm reiterated the rally’s demands.
“We gathered here today in unison to demand for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down from his position.
“We urge the parliament which will be in session this October to move forward with the no-confidence vote against Najib,” she said.
The call for Najib’s resignation was in line with Bersih 4.0’s demands for a clean government, clean elections, strengthened parliamentary democracy, saving Malaysia’s economy and the right to protest.
“We have been patient for 58 years but our political system is still bounded by corruption and despotic laws.
“Therefore, we want the political institution to be reformed first. We could replace our prime minister and the government but if the system is still corrupted, there is no use,” she added.
On that note, Maria insisted the government to initiate a transition programme in the next 12 to 18 months before immediately proceed with a general election.
The transition programme, according to Maria, includes a reformation of the electoral system, transformation of Election Commission and proscribing the prime minister as the Finance Ministry’s portfolio holder.
Platform for others’ reformation
Despite Bersih 4.0’s goal to command for a better governance of the country, members of the opposition parties took the platform to propagate their own “reformation plan”.
PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was among PKR leaders who exploited the assembly and called for the discharge of her husband, who is also the party’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar is currently in jail for sodomy.
“I am thankful that the people are still valiant to fight against vindictive and corrupted government.
“This is in concordance with everything that Anwar has been fighting for and God willing, he will be with us again. Bebas Anwar (Free Anwar)!” she chanted.
PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli afterwards rationalised the significance of Anwar’s freedom with Bersih’s stance and beliefs.
“Anwar’s imprisonment is one of the damage in the country that was done by the government and this is the kind of injustice Bersih is fighting for.
“I do not think it is wrong to fight for Anwar’s freedom. He is in fact the symbol of Bersih’s struggle,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB) vice-president Salahuddin Ayub optimised Bersih 4.0’s stage to endorse his Pas-alternative party – Amanah Rakyat.
“GHB promised to stay by the people’s side. Our agenda is not based on racial sentiment like ‘others’ are doing,” he said.
The Bersih 4.0 rally will continue until the eve of Independence day and simultaneously held in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
The crowd at today’s rally however mostly dispersed after their leaders ended their speech.
Kuala Lumpur Police chief Datuk Tajudin Md Isa said the security situation was under control.
“Kuala Lumpur police are continuing to stand guard, especially at Dataran Merdeka and the venues used as the gathering points.
“If there is any violation of the law, appropriate action will be taken in accordance with the law,” he said in a statement.
Tajudin said the police would continue to ensure that the city of Kuala Lumpur remained safe and public order prevailed.
He said the people had been advised to cooperate by not entering Dataran Merdeka tomorrow to participate in any illegal rally.