by: Ravi Philemon
Pictures: Jeremy Philemon/
About 200 Malaysians who live and work in Singapore descended upon Hong Lim Park in yellow today to show their support and to stand in solidarity with their countrymen’s demonstration for democracy called Bersih 2.0, held in Kuala Lumpur (KL).
Mr C P Chang a Malaysian with a small printing business in Singapore, who was helping those that had gathered at the park to print ‘BERSIH 2.0’ on their arms and T-shirts, said that his friends and he decided to come to the event because he was concerned about what was happening in Malaysia, where “people are not allowed to express their views on democracy”.
He said that he was careful that he was not breaching any laws in Singapore, and so checked with the police post in the park if he would be, by participating in today’s event.
“The police assured me that as long as I am not making a speech or carrying a banner, I will be fine”, he said.
” This was an impromptu event organised within the last 24 hours and entirely through the networking of the social media. We are also here to have a picnic and at the same time to make a statement with our yellow attire that we want a fair election,” Mr Chang adds.
Bersih 2.0, chaired by former president of the Bar Council Ambiga Sreenevasan, are pushing the Election Commission of Malaysia to ensure free and fair elections in Malaysia.
A supporter who wanted to be known as Tracy claimed that “demands for electoral reform made since the last General Election in Malaysia have fallen on deaf ears”. She remains concerned about how the next General Election will be conducted.
“The mainstream media is biased to Barisan Nasional (Malaysia’s ruling coalition), there are rumours that the National Registration Department is easily giving citizenship to foreign nationals so that they would vote for Barisan Nasional (BN), that the Election Commission is gerrymandering with constituencies, and BN uses public funds for projects close to the election period to win support,” she expressed her concerns.
None of the supporters gathered at the park expressed fear of any kind for participating in the event. “We heard about this on Facebook and we dropped by to see what was going on. Some of my friends drove all the way from Johor Bahru to join us in this picnic for a chit-chat”, said Ken. “There are no leaders in this event and most of us are sitting in groups of four so as not to be an illegal assembly,” added Ken’s friend Darren.
Alvin from another small group said his friends were there to picnic and were “silently sending a message of support to Malaysians that they are not alone.” His friend Yee quips, “the participants of Bersih 2.0, like those that have gathered here did not use violence. It is the Government of Malaysia that is using violence”.
Another Malaysian by the name of Tony who was there with his Singaporean wife Shirley said that his brother who is a medical doctor was arrested in KL today. “He was there in his capacity as a doctor to serve those that may get injured, but they arrested him for no reason whatsoever,” he said.
Bersih 2.0 Singapore is not an isolated event supporting Bersih 2.0 in KL. Malaysians living in 26 countries worldwide, would have organised similar events to call the Malaysian Government to hold free and fair elections and to create awareness about the current electoral system which they do not deem fair.
The participants of Bersih 2.0 Singapore ended the event with a group photo shoot and a shout-out for “Bersih!”
Our report will be up soon.