Malaysians saw one of the greatest rallies last year. To some, it was a “go all out” rally with a great hope for change, but nothing has changed.
To a certain extent, pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters were rejoicing over the “ineffective” rally while mocking those who were part of the “sleepover” gathering held in August 2015.
No one resigned, no reforms took place, the Goods and Services Tax is still in place while the nation’s economy continues to deteriorate.
Now that Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah has confirmed the fifth Bersih rally would be held in November, what will it mean to the country this time?
Will Malaysians end up marching in vain knowing that the nation is incapable of reforming itself?
The rally looks like nothing more than a platform to express unhappiness with the government.
Activist Yap Swee Seng of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia says Malaysians should not rely entire only on Bersih alone to stir change on behalf of the nation.
“Malaysians need to understand and come to realisation that rallies alone cannot create change in a country that is too politically controlled by one party,” he says.
“Bersih should go on, but Malaysians need to do their part as well, to spread the word especially to people in rural areas as it was evident that the previous rally did not reach those who were in the rural areas.
“We cannot just let Bersih do its thing and expect miracles to happen, we have to be part of moving the rally.”
Yap adds that while the rally would serve as a strong message to the government that the nation has not given up in fights for reforms, Malaysians can contribute more towards change.
“One thing that Malaysians can do is to start caring about being a voter. How many more Malaysians out there who are not voters as of today?
“We know that the general election is something that we can count on to push for reforms, but if Malaysians don’t do their part and register themselves as voters, real change is difficult to achieve,” Yap says.
Yap also says numbers do matter at the coming Bersih 5 as it reflects a strong message from the people to the government.
“It is important to have numbers, as a great number of turnout will prove to the government that many are not giving up and will not give up until changes and reforms take place.
“However to get the numbers, the public needs to contribute more of their time in backing Bersih. We need to do this together and not let others run the race for you,” says Yap.
The Bersih 2.0 chairman says a press conference on Sept 14 would reveal more details on the rally.
Chin had last month confirmed a fifth instalment of the electoral reform group’s street protests, which will aim to press for action over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case after the US government filed a lawsuit to seize assets linked to the state investment firm.
Bersih 4 in August last year was attended by almost 500,000 who flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur for the two-day rally to demand Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down.
Soo Wern Jun