The Bersih 5 rally will go on as planned tomorrow despite the arrests of Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and secretariat manager Mandeep Singh, the Bersih 2.0 steering committee said tonight.
Both Maria and Mandeep were arrested by police shortly after a raid at the electoral watchdog’s office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor this afternoon.
“If the authorities hope that this act of pure intimidation will scare us into submission, it will not happen. Instead, it has strengthened our resolve to continue with the Bersih 5 rally,” the steering committee said in a statement.
“Maria’s and Mandeep’s arrest have changed nothing. Bersih 5 will go on as planned and we hope that this heavy-handed action on the part of the authorities will spur Malaysians into coming down to the streets tomorrow not just to demand for institutional reforms but to protest injustices happening in the country,” it added.
Maria is being investigated under Section 124C of the Penal Code for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy while Mandeep is held under Section 147 for rioting and Section 511 of the same law for acts punishable with imprisonment.
The steering committee added that a total of 10 laptops, including their chargers, pen drives, hard disks, payroll files, bank statements and documents pertaining to The May 18 Foundation were seized during the two-hour raid that ended at 5.15pm.
Bersih 2.0 described the raid as a “blatant abuse of power, pure harassment and intimidation”, claiming selective application of the law.
“Meanwhile, Red Shirt leader, Jamal Yunos, who can easily be charged under several sections of the Penal Code, still roams free. The double standard is glaring,” it said.
Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos is the leader of a self-declared pro-government group known as the Red Shirts and has declared his movement will hold a counter rally against Bersih wherever its supporters gather in the city tomorrow.
Both are expected to assemble in the vicinity of Dataran Merdeka from 10am tomorrow.
The police have said both groups do not have permission for their demonstrations and warned that action will be taken against demonstrators who break the law.
Source : The Malay Mail Online