Sabah Bersih says keeping mum on rally venue to avoid police harassment

Sabah Bersih hopes to have police cooperation for Bersih 4's 24 hour rally this August 29. — Picture by Julia Chan
Sabah Bersih hopes to have police cooperation for Bersih 4's 24 hour rally this August 29. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 12 — Sabah Bersih today it was not disclosing the venue of its 24-hour rally planned for August 29 as it wanted to avoid a repeat of the alleged police harassment that befell its May Day rally earlier this year.

Its chairman, Jannie Lasimbang, said they have identified a location within the city but will only announce it at a later date and inform the authorities ahead of time, in accordance to the law.

“We just want to avoid the police from harassing us to change the location like they did when we wanted to have our May Day rally.

“They might try all kinds of intimidation tactics again to prevent us from occupying the public space, which is within the law and our rights,” she said.

Speaking to reporters during a press conference, she said they will take the necessary precautions to ensure the rally, dubbed the “24 hour Democracy Fest’”, is carried out according to the law.

She also expressed hopes that the police will provide their cooperation as the rally was a peaceful gathering for citizens to express the concerns with the government.

“We are only a small group of concerned citizens and we do not wish to fight with the authorities,” she said.

Sabah’s May Day rally was originally planned to take place in the centre of Kota Kinabalu but police secured a court order banning the organisers, politicians, activists and members of the public from being in the vicinity.

It was later discovered that the order was expired, but police insisted on its validity.

The rally eventually saw 1,000 people attending.short of the 10,000 crowd it targeted.

In Kuala Lumpur, police have given the green light for the 36 hour rally to proceed at Dataran Merdeka, provided it was done according to the law without “seditious” elements.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said police will intervene is there is any element of sedition in the rally.

The Bersih 4 rally to be held simultaneously nationwide in three locations, are planning camp overnight at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to push for five demands -  clean elections, a clean government, the right to protest, strengthening parliamentary democracy and saving Malaysia’s economy.

Lasimbang said members of the public were also invited to join the campaign by taking selfies to express their willingness to participate in the overnight rally, aside from donning yellow and putting up yellow ribbons on trees, fences and other places from August 29 at 2pm to 2pm the next day.

Also present at the press conference today was Gerakan Anak Muda Sabah Menuntut Hak Rakyat chairman Harieyadi Karmin, Pacos Trust international relations officer Atama and Anti Kaiduan dam chairman Matthew Yong among others.