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Bersih slams US 'hypocrisy' after meeting with Obama

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After a meeting with President Barack Obama today, electoral reform movement Bersih hit out at the United States for what it said amounts to hypocrisy if the superpower continues to support authoritarian leaders while preaching human rights.

"The US government cannot and must not be so cynical that it preaches democracy and human rights on one hand and supports authoritarian leaders like Najib (Abdul Razak) on the other hand, just because it serves her economic and geopolitical interests.

"Such hypocrisy will not only undermine the US moral authority in world affairs, but it will also undermine democracy and human rights and contribute to political stability to those countries run by despots and the world at large," Bersih said in a statement released after the meeting.

Bersih went on to quote a former US president from Obama's party, John F Kennedy, who it described as a "democrat worth his salt".

The quote reads: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

'Najib undermined electoral mechanism'

Bersih said Prime Minister Najib had undermined electoral and parliamentary mechanisms to sustain a corrupt rule that is accompanied by the cynical playing of ethno-religious sentiments.

"While projecting a liberal and moderate image outside Malaysia, Najib has allowed his ministers and party leaders to demonise the ethnic, religious and sexual minorities.

"The Christians and other non-Muslims are not even allowed to pray to Allah in the government's scheme to make the national language - in the religious realm - exclusive for Muslims," it said.

It added that the issue of RM2.6 billion being deposited into Najib's personal bank accounts and his attempt to stifle investigations into the matter also remained outstanding.

The electoral movement also highlighted several other issues, including Putrajaya’s demonisation of Bersih 4 as a "Chinese rally" and inaction against the anti-Bersih rally that threatened violence, use of repressive laws and stalled electoral reforms.

Obama told Malaysian civil society groups in a meeting today that he had raised human rights and good governance issues with Najib yesterday.

However, the US president also said that he had to balance the issues with the two countries' economic ties.

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