Friday, June 10, 2011

Look who will be coming to town!

While Kedah Gerakan chief Cheah Soon Hai has dismissed next month's Bersih rally as a totally meaningless slapstick comedy, his counterpart in Penang will be joining the event with a group of lawyers.

The vocal Penang Gerakan human rights and legal bureau chief Baljit Singh said about 10 lawyers from the state would join the Bar Council in monitoring the July 9 rally in Kuala Lumpur.

NONEBaljit (right) said he was not joining the rally just because he supported Bersih and its demands but because the federal constitution provided for peaceful demonstrations.

The group, which will submit the names of the lawyers to the Bar Council soon, will also provide legal aid to participants in case arrests are made.

"Everybody should respect the federal constitution, which allows for peaceful demonstrations for the rakyat to voice their views," Baljit told Malaysiakini today.

In what is planned to be a mega rally, the Bersih 2.0 movement, led by several prominent NGO personalities, aims to hand over a petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to intervene in instituting reforms in the electoral system.

In criticising the effort yesterday, Kedah Gerakan's Cheah said Pakatan victories in several polls since 2008 disproved the movement's claim that the electoral system was flawed.

He went on to describe the rally to press for free and fair elections as a "complete slapstick comedy which is totally meaningless".

Baljit said he agreed with Cheah that Pakatan had won several states in the March 2008 general election.

'Perception of people is important'

"But what is important here is the perception of people about the voting system. The system may be good, but it's not perfect," he said.

bersih rally istana negara tv 101107 large crowd"No matter how the EC draws the boundaries, the people are not going to be happy, so the easiest way is for the Election Commission to engage with the people, and with Bersih so that the problems can be addressed."

Baljit said various nagging problems related to the voting process would be defused only if a proper dialogue could take place between the two.

"We have to put politics aside. The rakyat is not confident about the system. There are many areas to fine tune, for example, postal posting," he said.

Baljit declined to criticise Cheah on his stand but said he understood what the party leader was trying to say in his statement.

However, what was more important now, he added, was the people's thoughts and opinions.

[Source: Mkini]

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