KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — The Bersih 5 rally this time around witnessed participation by tens of thousands of Malaysians — with a visibly higher increase of demonstrators from the Malay community.
Most appeared to be members of PAS splinter; Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and supporters of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
However, there was also an increase in the number of Malay youths who turned up in droves to take to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction with the Barisan Nasional-led government.
Despite the rally still being dominated by the ethnic-Chinese, the increased turnout from the Malay community was evident today.
This can be attributed to the previously Umno-dominated Malay political scenario, now divided into Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), which champions a more progressive agenda in contrast to Umno’s constant battle cry to defend Malay supremacy.
Likewise, the division between Islamist party PAS and Amanah, made up of progressive Islamists leaders who strive to constantly strike a balance between religious obligations and defending one’s inherent democratic rights.
The division within the Malay community’s political allegiance has evidently given rise to more Malays who are torn between the leadership of the likes of Bersatu and Umno leaders.
Unlike most others, some of the Malays who participated in today’s rally are not Kuala Lumpur or Selangor natives, but from states like Kedah and Pahang.
Yasri Said, 46, is a former Kedah PAS exco member and has faithfully attended all four Bersih rallies organised by polls reform group Bersih 2.0 with his family.
All he wants? To test the waters by voting in a new government.
“BN has been in power for too long. I’m the type who likes to eat different dishes every day. I don’t like eating the same dish.
“It’s been 69 years. I can’t take what BN says anymore, so I want to see some other parties in power. Anything from Pakatan except BN,” he said when met at Dataran Merdeka with his family members.
Mus, a 60-year-old resident from Temerloh, Pahang, said that he could never affiliate himself with Malay supremacy slogans and finds his thoughts more relatable with Bersih’s demands.
“Their struggles have nothing to do with Malay supremacy or religion. It’s something every common civilian can relate to and which are more important issues.
“Malaysians for Malaysia. Not Melayu for Malaysia. I never liked discrimination and stigma. I want to see a change, regardless if they are Indians or Chinese,” the Amanah supporter said.
More than 10,000 took to the streets of the capital city today at the fifth edition of Bersih 2.0’s rallies to protest against corruption.