The endorsing NGOs of the coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0) held an emergency meeting here, yesterday, and has unanimously decided to proceed with the Bersih 3.0 “Duduk Bantah” (sit-in) rally in Dataran Merdeka as planned.
This is in response to the statement made by the Home Affairs Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein, on April 22, stating that the authority may consider offering Stadium Merdeka or Stadium Bukit Jalil as the alternate venue for Bersih 3.0 rally.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur mayor has also made suggestions to hold the scheduled rally in Stadium Cheras or Titiwangsa.
Bersih 3.0 expressed its regrets that the government in again using the same strategy by offering multiple venues in an attempt to thwart the planned public rally.
Bersih 3.0 claimed that these mixed signals are reminiscent of what has occurred last year and the committee wish to express its disappointment over the government failure to come to term and speak with one clear voice.
Bersih 3.0 spokesperson said, on one hand, the Government appears to have given the go-ahead and on the other hand, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) and the police are reacting to the contrary by creating obstacles for the organiser.
Relating the sequence of event, the spokesperson said, on April 4, the committee has made a public announcement to hold the Bersih 2.0 rally on April 28 2012 at Dataran Merdeka.
Then on April 16, they faxed a letter to DBKL and the police to inform them accordingly.
DBKL then claimed that they did not receive the fax hence, Bersih 3.0 went on to hand deliver a copy of the letter to DBKL and to the police.
On April 18, the mayor made a mischievous claim stating that DBKL has not heard from us, said the Bersih 3.0 spokesperson.
Subsequently, Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein Onn, has openly declared that the planned Bersih 3.0 rally is not a security threat and has little traction with the public in two separate press statements , one on April 19 followed by another on April 22 April.
Bersih 3.0 committee received a reply from the police yesterday rejecting the use of Dataran Merdeka for the planned rally.
At the press conference, Bersih 3.0 committee explained their decision to stick with Dataran Merdeka as the venue for the rally was strictly based on three major factors.
The spokesperson said, firstly, Dataran Merdeka is conveniently accessible by the public through the multiple modes of public transportation network, namely the LRT stations situated in Masjid Jamek and Pasar Seni, the Komuter station in KTM station, the monorail station in Jalan Maharajalela and the bus terminal in Puduraya and bus stops in Bangkok Bank and Pasar Seni.
The spokesperson stressed that no other venue located outside of central Kuala Lumpur can offer such similar convenience.
Secondly, Dataran Merdeka is a national icon that signifies nationhood and freedom and it is therefore deem to be the most appropriate place to express the peoples patriotic demand for electoral reforms, said the spokesperson.
And finally, to gather in a public space like Dataran Merdeka is the peoples constitutional right and the right should not be compromised on spurious grounds more so, said the spokesperson, the rally is a people-based peaceful national and global event and most importantly, it does not pose any security threat,
Bersih 3.0 committee believed that the police will work towards ensuring the rally proceeds smoothly and safely, very similar to what the police have done remarkably well for the February 26, Himpunan Hijau 2.0 and the March 18, Wanita Suara Perubahan, where the police and the local authorities have co-operated and worked together with the organisers to make both the events proceed successfully without any untoward incidence , said the spokesperson.