PETALING JAYA: The Bersih 5 rally planned for Saturday will proceed as scheduled despite renewed calls for it to be called off, purportedly because street demonstrations are against Malaysian culture.
“Street demonstrations have always been in our culture,” said Maria Chin Abdullah, chairman of Bersih 2.0, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) behind the rally.
“If you remember how we won our independence, we were on the streets. It is our right to dissent.
“Now, we want to show the Government that people are serious about change. It is part and parcel of our struggle for a new Malaysia,” she said at a press conference Thursday at the NGO’s office in Petaling Jaya.
The rally calling for free and fair elections will be held in Kuala Lumpur this Saturday from about 10am to 6pm in Kuala Lumpur.
A group calling itself the Red Shirts, led by Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos, has vowed to disrupt the rally, leading to safety concerns.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, currently on a visit to Japan, said that street protests were not good for the country and “not the accepted culture” in Malaysia.
He also called for the rule of law to prevail, saying that street protests would only lead to chaos in the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in Parliament on Thursday, also urged both the Bersih and Red Shirts rallies to be called off.
However, on Wednesday, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad called on Malaysians to take part in the rally to show their dissatisfaction at the current administration.