Beyond the verdict: It is Time for True Electoral Reforms

July 24, 2012

BERSIH 2.0 welcomes the decision of High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) judge Rohana Yusof this morning to quash the earlier order by the Home Minister who declared BERSIH 2.0 as an illegal organization on 1 July 2011.

The judge stated that she views the order as inconsistent and “tainted with irrationality.” She added that the decision to declare BERSIH 2.0 unlawful was made without taking into account some relevant facts or by taking into account irrelevant facts.

As noted by the honorable judge, it was “unreasonable” for the minister to find BERSIH 2.0 unlawful for the serious reason of being “prejudicial to public order and security” on 1 July and yet the authorities subsequently continued to negotiate with BERSIH 2.0 on 5 July and allowed the rally to proceed on 9 July.

These are actions which are not consistent with an organization that is a threat to national security. In fact, S. Ambiga, A. Samad Said and Zaid Kamaruddin from the BERSIH 2.0 steering committee were granted an audience with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong in the week before the 9 July peaceful assembly. Moreover, there was also no objection to the BERSIH 3.0 peaceful assembly held this year on 28 April.

As said by BERSIH 2.0 co-chairperson A. Samad Said earlier, while we are relieved that Bersih has been vindicated, the entire process has been a waste of time, energy and public resources to make us illegal.

We recognize that the government has a right to appeal today’s decision, but for the sake of our country, we sincerely ask them not to pursue with an appeal and to drop all the civil suits against us as it is a waste of public funds. Instead, we hope that the government will take cognizance of the political realities in our country and deal with BERSIH 2.0 as a legitimate representative of the interests and demands of the people for free and fair elections.

Thus, rather than shooting the messenger, we wish to see government and the Election Commission focusing on the crucial message of improving our electoral system which is in the interest of every Malaysian.

The authorities should now return Bersih 2.0′s assets and materials seized on 30 June 2011, ranging from computers, video camera, yellow T-shirts, posters, placards, pictures and members’ list.