Despite the presence of Bersih chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah, and local state assemblymen, the Bersih convoy here received a very low turnout.
Less than 50 people wearing the official Bersih t-shirt were in the convoy, which started at Tesco Alma Bukit Mertajam at 7.30am and moved to several public areas including Taman Selamat market and Machang Bubuk morning market.
The convoy had failed to attract the attention of the people in the areas which lie in state and parliamentary constituencies held by DAP and PKR, which both support Bersih.
Maria said Bersih did not expect many people to attend the convoy. “We expected some 30 to 40 people only to join the convoy, as we want to talk to people about what are Bersih’s demands,” she said when contacted.
The five demands of Bersih 5 were clean elections, clean governance, strengthen parliamentary democracy, right to dissent and empowering Sabah and Sarawak.
Asked if the two corruption charges brought against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would have an impact on the Bersih rally, she believed that it would not affect the convoy and the rally on Nov 19.
“We are an NGO who fights for clean elections and governance and as for Guan Eng’s case, I will leave it to the court to decide. From my point of view, he is innocent until proven guilty by the court,” she said.
Some of the people met during the Bersih convoy in Bukit Mertajam showed their disapproval over the presence of political parties in the rally while some said they could not support Bersih because it was linked to a party whose secretary-general was facing corruption charges in court.
One former Bersih supporter, Terrance Lee, 35, said that he had previously supported Bersih but now felt that the course of the movement had deviated from its origins.
“During the first three rallies, I was one of their supporters. But now, while they are campaigning for their demands, I can see political parties taking part in the convoy with their flags and songs, it makes me wonder, what is the course of Bersih now. Is it still an NGO or has it now teamed up with political parties,” he said.
According to Penang Bersih coordinator, Francis Low of Aliran, the Bersih convoy will be in Penang until Oct 15 and will move out to Parit Buntar on Tuesday.
FMT Reporters Online