By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — One million people will join the next Bersih rally in protest if Putrajaya does not implement immediate electoral reforms, Mohamad Sabu has said.
The PAS deputy president pledged his party’s commitment to organising the next Bersih rally, saying it would be necessary if the government did not initiate proper polls reforms before the next general election.
“The students who went for Bersih 3.0 showed their anger to the ruling government who have let them be saddled in debt before even getting a proper job,” Mohamad (picture) was quoted by Sinar Harian as saying at a ceramah in Shah Alam last night.
PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat recently said that his Islamist party would organise and facilitate Bersih’s next gathering.
DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang was also quoted by the Malay daily as saying that international observers were needed to probe the violence which occurred during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally.
“People do not agree with Tun Hanif Omar leading the panel for Bersih 3.0; we want something neutral, with no interests,” the Ipoh Timor MP said.
The opposition and civil society have called on the former police chief to be disqualified due to anti-Bersih statements that came immediately after the rally for free and fair elections, which had spiralled into chaos when protestors tried to enter Dataran Merdeka.
The so-called “Hanif panel” has already been criticised for having no legal basis by Bersih and the Bar Council and both bodies have also criticised the choice of the former police chief to head the committee.
However, Hanif, who led the police for two decades from 1974, has insisted he will be impartial, saying that he has always acted fairly in previous enquiries and police investigations.
The opposition and NGOs have called on the government to back a Suhakam probe into Bersih’s third rally for free and fair elections, as the commission had also done so for a previous Bersih gathering held last July.
The April 28 rally, which saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka, was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan asked the crowd to disperse.
But her call was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted around the historic square which the court had already barred to the public over the weekend.
Just before 3pm, some protestors breached the barricade surrounding the landmark, leading police to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannons.
Police then continued to pursue the rally-goers down several streets amid chaotic scenes which saw violence from both sides over the next four hours.
Several dozen demonstrators have claimed that they were assaulted by groups of over 10 policemen at a time and visual evidence appears to back their claim but police also point to violence from rally-goers who also attacked a police car.
The police car then crashed into a building before some protestors flipped it on its side.