I would like to commend HSBC Malaysia for their "active" neutrality and allowing their employees to choose whether to participate or not in the Bersih 3.0 sit-in rally this Saturday.
When various groups and individuals queried the bank if it had issued an order/internal memo barring its members from participating in Bersih 3.0, the bank could have just denied issuing any memo/order.
Instead, the bank issued an "active" statement of its neutrality in its press release reported by Malaysiakini ("HSBC denies stopping staff from attending Bersih", April 24, 2012).
It explicitly stated that employees can act according to their free will in their personal time.
All companies, local and international, in Malaysia should follow this example.
Bersih is a coalition of NGOs seeking free and fair elections in this country. Malaysians have a right to support this movement or not, and their employers should understand this just as HSBC have.
Syabas to HSBC Malaysia and I look forward to other organisations issuing similar statements.
NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is MP for Lembah Pantai, and a vice-president of PKR.