Politics

Bersih distances itself from former chairman

ambiga-maria-chin-1

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – October 31, 2017: Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah does not think that her politically-inclined non-governmental organisation’s reputation will be affected by an issue before a British court which has dragged the name of its former chairman into it.

“It will not… but I won’t comment any further because I think it is subjudice to do so as the matter is still under judicial consideration,” Maria remarked today.

Ambiga, a former Bar Council prsident, was Bersih 2.0 chairman in 2011.

Bersih 2.0, otherwise known as the Coalition for Free and Fair Election, is a self-proclaimed apolitical electoral watchdog but critics have consistently questioned its neutrality due to its opposition-friendly stance.

Ambiga is now mired in controversy and on the backfoot after Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown named her as the source for a report which alleged that senior PAS leaders were bribed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Rewcastle-Brown, through her defence and counterclaim filed against a suit by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang in England, named Ambiga as the source she had spoken to in July last year.

The news report also implied that money siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Berhad was given in return for the support by PAS for Barisan Nasional.

Ambiga apparently texted a local news portal today to say that she was not at liberty to discuss proceedings which are ongoing in court.

In reaction, journalist-blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan expressed disbelief that Rewcastle-Brown had revealed her source, which is against journalism ethics.

“I have always thought that these western journalists would protect their source at all costs.  Maybe Rewcastle-Brown is a new breed of western journalist! Or she was extremely desperate,” Ahirudin in his blog posting.

The issue was also widely discussed in social media, with some pointing out that the Rewcastle-Brown’s confession has indirectly shown that she had no evidence to back her allegations.

Meanwhile, the cyberspace was abuzz following the revelation by Rewcastle-Brown with many questioning the credibility of Sarawak Report. 

“Since whatever Rewcastle-Brown wrote was based on hearsay that she heard from Ambiga…it shows that she had no proof in the first place,” wrote Facebooker Firdaus Mokhtar.

Some had also quipped about who Ambiga will name as her informant given the fact the information she fed Rewcastle-Brown was also likely based on hearsay.

“So Rewcastle-Brown named her. I wonder who will Ambiga name…will it be Tony Pua (DAP publicist) or Rafizi (PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli)?” wrote Athenadora Gaia.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

Despite becoming The MOLE's journalist in 2014, he still has a hard time traversing the city. If he is not lost, this northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make some sense out of the Malaysian political sphere.