Tuesday, May 5, 2009

BERSIH - Wear black on May 7

The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, Bersih, today called on Malaysians to protest the power grab in Perak and put on a show of civil disobedience by wearing black on May 7 in conjunction with the sitting of the state assembly.

In a press conference today, Bersih accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of orchestrating the political coup in Perak and lambasted him for allegedly failing to keep his promise made under his 1Malaysia philosophy which puts people first, saying that putting people first would mean giving the voters of Perak the chance to determine the state government.

Taking a leaf from other civil obedience movements such as those organised by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and even Umno’s “berkabung” movement to oppose the Malayan Union, Wong Chin Huat, a spokesman for Bersih, urged Malaysians who oppose the power grab to “let everyone see a sea of black walking into an office, market, mosque, temple, church, college, park, bus... let us be united in one black colour to show the world that the 1Malaysia under Najib Razak is 1BlackMalaysia living in darkness.”

Bersih also criticised the BN for practising “old politics” and trying to clamp down on media coverage and peaceful gatherings.

The Perak government had initially allowed only selected media to cover the assembly sitting. However, the decision was later reversed by Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir.

The police have also warned political parties against organising mass gatherings in front of the state secretariat.

Teo Nie Ching, DAP’s federal legislator from Serdang, says that she was queried by the Police Special Branch after she tried to organise a bus to ferry supporters to Ipoh and expressed her disappointment with the Special Branch.

“Why stop us from going to witness the assembly?” she told reporters.

Lim Teck Ghee, who represented the Centre for Policy Initiatives, urged solidarity despite “a propaganda war” to tar dissenting views as unpatriotic and treasonous.

“It is the duty of Malaysians to oppose illegal and unconstitutional acts of power grabbing,” he declared. “We are the patriotic ones.”

Lim was referring to accusations from BN that Nizar was committing treason by going against the Sultan of Perak’s wishes that he resign as mentri besar.

The political crisis in Perak was triggered by the defection of four state representatives from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to BN earlier this year, giving BN an edge in numbers over PR in the state assembly.

The Perak state assembly speaker however, claimed that three of the representatives who defected had resigned but this was disputed by the latter, who got the backing of the Election Commission.

Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who maintains he is the rightful mentri besar, then sought permission from the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the state assembly to pave the way for a state election but his request was rejected and he was told to resign instead.

Nizar refused to resign but at the same time, Zambry was sworn in as the new mentri besar by the Sultan on February 6.

Since then, PR and BN have been locked in a struggle over who is the legitimate government of Perak and whether or not to dissolve the state assembly. [Source: MalaysianInsider]

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