On Nov 19, Bersih will take to the streets for the fifth time.
The gathering will, among others, call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over the 1MDB saga.
However, an analyst warns that the plan could backfire.
Speaking to South China Morning Post, Merdeka Centre’s Ibrahim Suffian pointed out the importance of the race equation.
He said that a repeat of last year’s low numbers of Malay and rural supporters could damage Bersih and the political parties associated with it.
He suggested that such a turnout could be counterproductive to the rally’s message and feed into the racial divide narrative.
“A lopsided rally with little Malay participation could play into this racial narrative.
“It could be used to paint Bersih and its opposition party supporters as a non-Malay movement that is going against a government that represents the Malay majority,” he said.
Ibrahim said this would diminish Malay support for the opposition, which is crucial, and boost support for the prime minister instead.
Meanwhile, think tank Ilham Centre’s Hisommudin Bakar pointed out that Malaysians were politically fatigued over the lack of action with regard to 1MDB.
This, he added, could affect the turnout for the upcoming rally.
In an attempt to convince more Malays and rural folk to attend its rally, Bersih will embark on a month-long nationwide roadshow, starting Oct 1.
Its chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said the convoy would help Malaysians better understand the issues and the importance of standing together.
However, Hisomudin was not convinced about the effectiveness, saying that rural folk are usually drawn to political issues and the national personalities who talk about them.
He pointed out that past Bersih rallies received the support of Malay opposition icons such as Anwar Ibrahim, who is now in prison, and the late PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
“These guys are not around this time and I am sceptical that Bersih can fill the vacuum,” he added.