AUGUST 17 — Dear Tengku Adnan,
On August 17, 2015, it was reported by The Star Online that you knew about the RM2.6 billion that went into the PM’s account and that the matter has been “repeatedly explained”. But you then questioned where Bersih got its funding to run Bersih 4. To answer your legitimate question — Where is Bersih getting its funding? Let me try to answer you.
1. From the Malaysian public who supports free and fair elections. You and your Umno buddies should consider supporting us as well because once you lose power in GE14, you would be kicking yourself that elections are not free and fair for those in opposition. As gamblers would tell you, best to hedge your bets.
2. The budget to run the mammoth Bersih 4 rally is only RM200,000. That’s roughly RM1 or less per person turning up. Yes, I know that’s incredibly low by BN’s standard where a Raya open house can run into the millions. But you see, we are run mainly by volunteers who gives their time and talent for no money and in fact many pay for out-of-pocket expenses themselves. Bersih could never repay them enough and owes them our eternal gratitude.
3. No, we don’t give out free t-shirts. We can’t afford to as we depend on the sales of t-shirts to raise funds. Perhaps, you have “seen with your own eyes” these t-shirts being given out free. Those are probably paid for by our incredibly generous supporters who think nothing of spreading the message of Bersih by giving away the t-shirts. Giving away US$50 bills? Fat chance. If we have any, we’d be holding on to them in view of how fast the Ringgit is depreciating thanks to your government.
4. The donations from thousands of Malaysians didn’t go into the personal account of our Chairperson, Maria Chin Abdullah. Our account are audited and all expenses and income shown transparently. Certainly, quoting our PM Najib, the funds are not for “personal gain” of Maria or any of the Steering Committee, who are by the way, all serves as volunteers without pay. I know, we are all “orang gila or bodoh”.
5. Dear Tengku Adnan, if after reading this letter and you understand the importance of having a level election playing field for all parties and know how much we need public support, you may want to consider making a small donation to Bersih. The budget as mentioned to run Bersih 4 is RM200,000 and we are not there yet. If you wish to remain anonymous with your donation, we do understand and will respect your wish.
To donate, go to http://www.bersih.org/donate/
By the way, anyone else wishing to donate to Bersih may do so.
* Thomas Fann is the Vice-Chair (Southern Peninsula) of Bersih 2.0’s Steering Committee but wrote this in his personal capacity.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.