Bersih demands fresh polls if Pakatan collapses, warns of mass rally otherwise

Members of Bersih 2.0 and 34 NGOs pose for a group picture during a press conference February 24, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Members of Bersih 2.0 and 34 NGOs pose for a group picture during a press conference February 24, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 will organise another mass rally unless a general election is held in the event the Pakatan Harapan administration collapses.

Chairman Thomas Fann said a backdoor government was undemocratic and tantamount to a betrayal of voters who voted for change.

“The rakyat voted for Pakatan Harapan and its coalition parties based on their promises and policies in their respective manifesto. Such reconfiguration of the component parties mid-term has nullified its election manifesto,” he said during a press conference.

Bersih, supported by 34 other civil rights movements and NGOs, also pleaded with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to consent to the dissolution of Parliament.

The group also demanded that lawmakers who deserted PH to resign immediately, saying they were elected as representatives of the coalition.

“We also call upon all citizens to voice their anger and disappointment, either by expressing it on social media, by writing to their MPs, or even organise peaceful assemblies wherever they are,” Fann said.

When asked for details of what would be the Bersih 6 rally, Fann said the group will decide after observing how authorities respond.

He said it may not be necessary if Parliament is dissolved.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann speaks during the Bersih 2.0 and 34 NGOs press conference February 24, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann speaks during the Bersih 2.0 and 34 NGOs press conference February 24, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

“As for the rally itself, we will have to go through an internal process and seek the consensus among Bersih’s 56 supporting NGOs.

“If it is greenlit, then committees will be formed, messaging will begin along with mobilisation,” Fann said, adding the rally could be organised to take place within a week up to several months, and may involve more than one rally.

A series of political meetings yesterday among Parti Pribumi Bersatu, Umno, PAS, and PKR factions loyal to then-deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali culminated in 131 MPs gathering at the Sheraton Hotel Petaling Jaya for a consensus dinner.

Since then, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has resigned as the prime minister and Bersatu chairman.

Bersatu has left the coalition, while Azmin and PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin have been sacked from the party.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong summoned Dr Mahathir to the Istana Negara for an audience at 5pm today, with speculation rife that a new coalition government will be formed.

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