Penang Bersih 3.0, organized by Aliran, saw a good turnout of approximately 7,000 people. The assembly was peaceful and took on a carnival air, with colourful placards, creative posters, yellow balloons, sing-a-long, chanting, speeches and even with some ‘ghosts’ present. Citizen Journalist Malaysia approached a few people to find out the reason which spurred them towards the gathering.
Catherine Chang was at the Penang Bersih 3.0 gathering held a yellow a placard which read “I’m from LA. We want overseas voting.”
That was not what attracted people. Many were curious about the stick with the picture of a man clad in the Bersih T-shirt which she was holding on to.
When Citizen Journalist Malaysia (CJMY) approached her, it was found out that the picture was that of her her late father, SK Chang.
“I’m a Penangite working in Los Angels. I came back to Penang when I heard that my father was sick. He passed away two weeks ago. When he first heard of Bersih 3.0, he had wanted to attend the gathering. Now, that he had gone, I am making sure that he is present to support Bersih 3.0.”
Catherine, 30, works as an electrical engineer in LA. She has there siblings in Penang who are registered voters.
“I have registered as a voter” said Catherine, “but whether I can vote or not, depends largely on whether I can return to Penang. during the elections. That’s why I am here with the others, to call for overseas voting.” Catherine was with a small group of people who were also staying in LA.
Kenneth Tan, 29, who was with her girlfriend, Fui Kun, 27 said that it is time for the young generation to wake up and show care and concern for the country.
“We need a free and fair election, because that is what democracy is all about.” said Kenneth. “I am a first time voter and I am very excited to vote. I read about all the discrepancies found in the electoral system and feel that I have to come here to support Bersih 3.0.”
Nic Sim casually stated, “I believe we can have a better country if the elections is free and fair. I support all of Bersih’s demands and I hope the government will fulfill them, which I’m sure, is the wish of all loving, caring Malaysians too.”
Magdalena Ng, 38, is a Russian, she is married to a Malaysian, Djason Ng, and has been living in Penang for eight years. She didn’t minced her words when she cried “The government is useless!” when asked why she come to support Bersih 3.0.
“I hope there will be a complete change after the election. I believe that majority of the people do want a change. We can hope. As long as we have hope, there is a chance, – the chance lies in our votes.”
Thomas Balarajoo, 34, felt very upset, “When I applied for BR1M for my mother, I was shocked that the application was rejected. The reason was because she not a Malaysian. My mother has been living in Malaysiaall her life and still can’t obtain a Mykad. She only has a PR. But then how come so many Indonesians obtain Mykads effortlessly? This means, my mother, a true Malaysian, can’t vote but the Indonesians can vote. This calls for change”.
Ann Rosario, 52 said “This is the first time I am attending such a rally. I hardly read the online media but read mostly the mainstream media. Even so, I can felt the bias in reporting of the mainstream media. The mainstream media use a lot of scare tactics on us against the opposition. I feel I have to come here to see what Bersih is about. A free and fair election is the basic requirement for a democratic country.”
James Lee, 49 told CJMY, “To me, this is a historical event and there was such a huge turnout! I believe change is coming. People are fed-up owiththe government. Our basic needs are in jeopardy – like how the prices of petrol and food-stuff keep increasing, and our salaries can’t match the ever increasing prices!
“We then hear of the rampant corruption and dirty politics. In a way, Bersih had opened our eyes to all the injustice and violation of rights. Not all of us can speak up and we are thankful we have the Bersih leaders and NGO activists to speak up on our behalf.”
Mr P. Ramakrishnan, Aliran committee member said that the turnout for Bersih 3.0 in Penang was beyond expectation.
“Penangites did not disappoint us, I see. This is the biggest gathering in Penangorganized by a NGO, that I had ever since March 8. I can sense the impending change approaching. The big crowd here tells me that people are not happy with the Election Commission. They know that the Election Commission is not fair. Yes, Malaysians have completely lost faith in the Election Commission. The only saving grace for the Election Commission now is for the entire team to resign, not just the chairman.”