Bersih coalition co-chairman S Ambiga must ban Pakatan Rakyat's top leaders from participating in the April 28 peaceful assembly.
GEORGE TOWN: Bersih 2.0 may have its constitutional right under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution to hold a third peaceful assembly on April 28 at Dataran Merdeka, but its co-chairman S Ambiga must first clarify whether the rally is at the behest of opposition Pakatan Rakyat, said Gerakan politician Baljit Singh.
He said it appeared that the Bersih 3.0 gathering was a pre-planned rally to trigger an election momentum for Pakatan Rakyat.
He raised suspicion that the imminent rally was being organised for Pakatan to gain political mileage. But he is also open to any clarification by Ambiga to assuage his doubts.
The lawyer has reservation on why the Bersih 3.0 rally was announced almost immediately after Pakatan leaders had expressed discontent over the 22-point electoral reforms recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).
He wondered whether the rally was being hurriedly arranged to rally and galvanise Pakatan leaders and supporters in the wake of the fast approaching general election.
He suggested for Bersih to “ban” Pakatan top leaders from taking part in Bersih 3.0 to show proof that the coalition was an independent and non-partisan movement genuinely seeking to improve the country’s democratic process.
“Its chairperson owes a public duty to clarify that Bersih 3.0 would not be a platform for Pakatan leaders to flex their political muscles,” Baljit, who heads Penang Gerakan legal and human rights bureau, told FMT here today.
Ambiga has said that apart from the movement’s original eight demands, Bersih 3.0 would focus on three key issues. The issues are the resignation of the Election Commission, the presence of international observers to monitor the general election and that the electoral process be cleaned up before the next general election.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz has already objected to the venue, saying that Dataran Merdeka was not a gazetted area for peaceful assemblies. ‘Cry babies’
Yesterday, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia approved the PSC report on electoral reforms without calling for a debate and gave three opposition MPs the marching orders.
The Speaker ordered PKR MPs R Sivarasa and Azmin Ali, and PAS MP Dzulkefly Ahmad to leave the House for questioning his stand on not allowing a minority report to be attached with the existing report.
Baljit said Pakatan MPs and Bersih should not behave like “cry babies” as it was not compulsory for the PSC to accept all their recommendations on electoral reforms.
He said that the 22 accepted recommendations looked credible and progressive, though there were still room for improvement.
During the PSC fact-finding mission across the country, he said he had also proposed for a anti-hopping law to ban elected political frogs.
Although his recommendation was not included in the PSC report, Baljit said he was not crying foul.
“It’s so disturbing that the moment Pakatan MPs cry foul, Ambiga swiftly announces another rally.
“Is it coincidence or pre-planned?” asked Baljit, who attended the Bersih 2.0 rally last July.