Bersih hands over reform demands to MPs after march to Parliament

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About 100 participants of the #Reformasi100Peratus (100 per cent reform) rally organised by the Clean and Fair Elections Coalition (Bersih) marched to the Parliament building today.

Shafwan Zaidon

The participants started gathering near Tugu Negara as early as 7am before marching to the Parliament building at about 8.30am, accompanied by about 100 policemen on duty.

The group gave four lawmakers — Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen, Sungai Petani MP Mohammed Taufiq Johari, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari, Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim and Ledang MP Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh — the document with demands such as the separation of the attorney general’s powers, the restoration of Parliament’s independence, and the end of preventive detention laws, among others.

“We will not rest until we get what we want.

“When you say you want to do all this reform, it doesn’t mean you just give a slogan right? You need to give a very clear timeline.

“We want them to debate all the reform agenda that as promised before,” Bersih deputy chairman Wong Yan Ke told Malay Mail.

Among the demands were those related to the Protection of Whistleblowers Act 2010 and the Official Secrets Act 1972 which empowers the government to declare any information as an official secret, so it cannot be disclosed.

The demands also include the term limit for the Prime Minister and abolition of the Sedition Act 1948 as well as calling for a moratorium on discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) in corruption cases.

Other reforms demanded include transparency over the appointment of a new Election Commission chairman to replace the incumbent later this year, as well as a political financing law.

Later, Wong said the low turnout was expected as the march was held on a weekday, and that it was only intended to be a small rally.

The march had to be held today to coincide with the start of the year’s first parliamentary meeting, he added.

NGOs Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) and Aliran were also part of the march while the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and the Malaysian Bar were present as observers.

Earlier this month, Bersih warned the national unity government that the group could launch another of its mass protests unless there were visible efforts to deliver on reforms previously promised in their election manifestos, saying it would be monitoring the government’s legislative progress during this parliamentary meeting.

Electoral watchdog Bersih has organised five massive protests considered to be inflection points in the evolution of Malaysia’s political landscape, beginning with the first in 2007.