Electoral watchdog Bersih believes that a hidden hand is acting to use all state resources to stop Bersih 5 even before the rally has begun.
This, after Bersih treasurer Thomas Fann was denied entry into Sarawak this morning and was put on the same plane back to Kuala Lumpur.
Fann was scheduled to attend a series of meetings with local groups in Miri, Bintulu and Sibu in preparation for the Bersih 5 rally.
“The Immigration Department is now acting against the spirit of the Federal Constitution which allows for freedom of movement and guarantees the right to dissent through peaceful protests,” said Bersih in a statement today.
Commenting on inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar who had announced that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah would be investigated for “trying to topple the government”, Bersih, however, could not help but think how “extremely odd” this is.
“This is extremely odd, as one of Bersih 5’s main calls is to strengthen parliamentary democracy which is now at its lowest ebb in Malaysia.
“Instead of commanding all state resources against Bersih 5, we call upon all institutions of government to buck up and act under the provisions of the law which provide for peaceful gatherings, a principle Bersih has always stressed for.”
Government institutions, the group further stressed, must act for the people instead of against them.
“And now, the people want free and fair elections, a clean government, strengthen parliamentary democracy and uphold our right to dissent and empower Sabah and Sarawak. The five rallying cries of Bersih 5.
“We urge the Sarawak state government to lift the ban against Fann and all Malaysians for a more united, new Malaysia,” added Bersih.
The electoral reform movement had announced that it would proceed with its fifth rally, in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 19, to continue the push for clean and fair elections.
Bersih 5 was also called in the wake of the United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) actions against those linked to the 1MDB scandal.
Preceding the event will be a national convoy to six places – Kangar, Lumut, Kota Bharu, Johor Bahru, Sandakan and Miri – to boost public support for the rally. The convoy will kick-start on Oct 1.