Bersih coalition co-chairman S Ambiga said she is 'pleasantly surprised' with the change in the government’s attitude towards the peaceful assembly on April 28.
KOTA KINABALU: Bersih 3.0 chairperson S Ambiga has urged all “right-thinking and good conscience leaders” in Barisan Nasional and Umno in particular, to have the courage to speak up in the best interest of the nation and its people.
Ambiga made the call at a news conference held in conjunction with the launch of “Jom 100” organised by Bersih Sabah chapter, at a hotel here today.
She was responding to a question on what the rights movement she heads would do if the government refuses to give in to the demands for electoral reforms to ensure a clean and fair election in the country.
“I think it will be very silly of the government not to listen [to Berish’s demands]. I think this time it is going to be translated into votes. How much can you cheat, seriously?
“But I’m hoping that they [the government] will sit up and take notice. My suspicion is, it is not the whole of BN that thinks the same. It’s just a few people at the top who think that this is the way it should be, because I do know for a fact that they are good people in BN who don’t like what’s happening.
“So my hope is, they will speak up in the best interest of the rakyat, in the interest of their children, their next generation. For me Bersih 3.0 is about the next generation… it’s about the kind of country we are going to hand over to the next generation,” she said.
On the government’s reaction to Bersih 3.0 nationwide peaceful protest on April 28, she said she was pleasantly surprised with the change in the government’s attitude.
“The government’s reaction is very much different from the last time and I’m pleasantly surprised. The police have handled the two other rallies, that is the 901 and the Himpunan Hijau very well.
“I think they are more prepared now. I don’t anticipate a problem and we will be working with the police. Hopefully we can show that we are really heading towards being a healthy democracy,” she said.
No threats yet Ambiga reiterated her concern and dissatisfaction over the Election Commission’s reluctance to use indelible ink for postal voters and the possible increase in their numbers.
“For postal votes, up to today, my understanding is, they [EC] are not going to use indelible ink. So what does it mean? To me, it is risky, actually.
“The number of postal voters are possibly increasing when they are supposed to be decreasing due to increase in the number of EC staff and the registration of their spouses. We want to reduce the categories of postal voters… the fewer the better,” she said.
The former Bar Council president, who has helped propel the need for electoral reform into the forefront of Malaysian consciousness, admitted that she had been threatened for her stand but said that this would not prevent her from speaking .
“They unashamedly threatened me,” she said of the last Bersih gathering she had led but added that since the launch of Bersih 3.0 last week, she had not received any threat.
“Not so far, but let’s see. I’m not going to push my luck but they are still rude about me. But the press will be the first to know if I get a threat,” she said.