Global Bersih, a Geneva-based international NGO network of Malaysian diaspora residing around the world, announces that overseas Malaysians have bandied together to hold their respective solidarity events in more than 50 cities across the globe in support of Bersih 4 in Kuala Lumpur.
Bersih 4, a mega rally called by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will be joined by thousands of Malaysians living overseas who are very concerned about the political developments in the country. The latest of these is the current scandal and controversy surrounding Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s involvement with indebted sovereign fund 1MDB.
The Global Bersih solidarity rallies will echo the demands of Bersih 4, which are:
Global Bersih President Colin Rajah, residing in San Francisco, USA, said he is heartened by the overwhelming support and offers from Malaysians around the world, to join the Bersih cause and in organising gatherings in their respective cities in solidarity with Bersih 4 in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, Malaysia.
“Time and again, Malaysians all over the world have shown that we are as concerned and passionate about the developments within our ‘tanahair’ (home country). Every time Bersih 2.0 calls a rally back home, thousands of us Malaysians residing abroad have responded with massive support. In spite of increasing anecdotal evidence about threats and warnings being circulated, we are turning out more than ever!” he asserted.
Global Bersih secretary Bala Chelliah, residing in Geneva, Switzerland added, “Global Bersih has joined Bersih Shanghai and Bersih 2.0 to recently launch a Bersih Global Countdown Campaign that encourages Malaysians all over the world to participate in the countdown to the Kuala Lumpur rally, no matter where they are.
“We also hope that Malaysians abroad will turn up and wear yellow over the Aug 29-30 weekend in solidarity even if there isn't a gathering or rally near their places. Every action counts.”
In addition, three city-coordinators from different parts of the globe stated their reasons for organising a Bersih gathering in their respective cities.
Pamela Wong, city coordinator from Auckland, New Zealand, said: “This is a crucial point we have come to, as a country, as a people. Do we keep quiet and let our country go to pieces before our eyes, or do we stand up and find our voices to ask for what we want, to ask for what is right and fair?
“Change may not come overnight, but it all starts with the people. If we do not ask for what we want, no one will hear us or know our need. Malaysians need to rally together so that the world and our own government can hear us,” she added.
‘An integral part of political democracy’
Johnson Chew, city coordinator from Shanghai, China, said: “We remain unconvinced with the electoral process after some incidents still crop up during the 13th Malaysian general election, where some are classified as overseas postal voters without their knowledge. We therefore stand behind Bersih’s cause, which is an integral part of political democracy, to ensure healthy development of all areas of Malaysia.”
Jasdev Singh, city coordinator from Washington DC, USA, said:” Washington DC is the centre-stage of social movements that directly and indirectly changed the world. But it is ironic that those of us here have the luxury to freely express ourselves whereby our friends in Malaysia are gagged, arrested and silenced. It is imperative we grab this opportunity to make our voices heard. We are in it together!”
Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah expressed her thanks to Malaysians around the world participating in such short notice and echoing Bersih 4’s demands through their solidarity gatherings. “Thank you for getting all these together in such a short time, with solidarity gatherings scattered all over the world. It’s not about numbers, but a call by Malaysians demanding for institutional reforms back home.
“We as citizens must lead the way to rebuild the nation. Join us on this call to demand institutional reform, so that we can have clean and fair elections in 18 months,” she said.
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