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Thursday, August 30, 2012

BERSIH: We SUPPORT but are not part of tonight's Janji Demokrasi celebration

BERSIH: We SUPPORT but are not part of tonight's Janji Demokrasi celebration
Electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 has clarified that it is not part of a planned gathering called "Janji Demokrasi" to be held on the eve of Merdeka celebrations this Friday but said the event should be allowed.
Responding to a statement by Dang Wangi district police chief Zainuddin Ahmad declaring the gathering as illegal and that it was to promote Bersih which “has done all sorts of things”, Bersih said although the organisers included some members of its steering committee, they were there on their individual capacity and not to represent the coalition.
"We support their right to take such action [in organising the gathering] and we support their demand to improvise our democractic system," it said in a statement.
It also questioned what Zainuddin meant by the phrase "all sorts of things", and challenged him to come forward to testify under oath at the ongoing public hearing convened by Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) on the Bersih 3.0 rally.
"Bearing in mind ACP Zainuddin's position and influence in the police force, he should be more responsible with what he says and an immediate explanation is hereby demanded," Bersih added.
The usual UMNO 11th-hour U-turn
In an about turn despite earlier assurances by the authorities that it would allow peaceful demonstrations on Thursday night at Dataran Merdeka, Zainuddin warned Janji Demokrasi organisers to cancel their rally and urged the public against participating in it.
Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah, who is part of a separate group of some 49 NGOs calling themselves 'Gabungan Janji', had earlier said that during a meeting with police, there had not been any specific prohibition of the gathering.
Maria had however hit back at Zainuddin, saying there was no such requirement for a police approval when people gathered for the Merdeka countdown at the historic landmark.
"I mean, is Zainuddin saying that everyone who appears at Dataran Merdeka must have that approval? I’m going there just like any other citizen," she was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
Gabungan Janji claims that its event was to celebrate Merdeka Day and “not a demonstration, not a protest, and not a rally”. Earlier, civil society groups have expressed support for the gathering. PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu has also urged members to turn up at the event.

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