Bersih 2.0 insisted today that its rally was not “hijacked” by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who took to the stage at the Bersih 5 rally yesterday, and arguably stole the show.
According to its steering committee members, the polls reform group welcomed the former prime minister’s presence yesterday, but warned against anybody attempting to derail its reform agenda.
“We’re definitely not of the idea that he hijacked Bersih,” treasurer Thomas Fann told the media, referring to Dr Mahathir.
“We appreciate the participation of all leaders regardless of any political background, and also the people. Not only leaders came on stage, but also the people.”
Fann said Dr Mahathir had initially been expected to miss the rally since he was abroad for a forum in Sudan, and had joined only because he cut short his trip.
“It’s a movement that belongs to anyone who subscribes to the same agenda. That agenda will not be taken away by anyone who come in yet does not pursue the same,” said fellow steering committee member Dr Wong Chin Huat.
“We welcome Dr Mahathir’s presence yesterday. We believe he brought more support for Bersih.
“In no way, not him, not anyone can derail Bersih’s struggle from institutional reform. Anyone who wants to move away from the agenda of institutional reform will be abandoned by Bersih supporters,” the political scientist added.
Speaking at Bersih 5 yesterday, Dr Mahathir urged Malaysians to reject a government that oppresses its people and uses laws to silence criticism.
Dr Mahathir, who was accused of curtailing civil liberties during his time as prime minister, said the attendance of thousands of ordinary Malaysians at the street demonstration showed that people wanted a change in government.
The veteran politician claimed the use of security laws against key opposition and Bersih leaders ahead of the rally showed that the current government is undemocratic and does not listen to its people.
Besides the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman, his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin were also present, with the latter becoming an unlikely star and even received bigger cheer than Dr Mahathir.
Source : ZURAIRI AR@The Malay Mail Online