THE Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) has announced that the BERSIH 5.0 rally will be held on November 19. BERSIH also plans to kick-start the rally with a nationwide convoy which starts on October 1.

Unlike the previous BERSIH rallies which calls for free and fair elections, transparency, good governance, the right to dissent and saving the economy, among other things, BERSIH 5.0 is aimed to ‘create awareness’ on the 1MDB issue in the wake of the United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) court case to recover funds illegally siphoned off 1MDB worth over US$1 billion.

The reason for the BERSIH 5.0 rally is undeniably akin to the call by the opposition leaders for Najib Razak to step down as Prime Minister.

This raises the question whether BERSIH is being used by the opposition to further their political agendas? Or, is BERSIH a political organization in support of the opposition party?


It is undeniable that BERSIH is closely associated, if not affiliated with PKR and DAP. Although BERSIH chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah has fervently denied this claim, the fact that BERSIH’s initial steering committee is comprised of members from political parties, almost all of BERSIH’s activities over the years have been overshadowed by the opposition agenda; to take over Putrajaya at all cost, even at the expense of the public safety and national harmony.

Regardless of how many mass rallies and convoys being organized, BERSIH should know that it has little effect in making the government succumb to their absurd demands that literally goes against the very essence of what BERSIH stands for. Unless this is what BERSIH wants, another Tahrir Square or Tunisia incident happening in Dataran Merdeka.

There is little to guarantee that BERSIH 5.0 rally will end peacefully. With the exception of BERSIH 4.0, other rallies organized by BERSIH in previous years before the Public Assembly Act was passed had seen violent clashes between protesters and police. Can BERSIH guarantee it will be the same this time around?

If indeed BERSIH is truly “BERSIH”, it should live up to its true spirit and steer clear of any politicking by PKR or DAP. They should solely focus on empowering citizens to be masters of their own destiny through the legal electoral process. BERSIH should not let themselves be used as a forefront by any political party.

Malaysia practices parliamentary democracy with a federal constitutional monarch. We have our laws and regulations. We are not barbarians. We do not take to the streets and resort to violence to get our way. If we want to be heard, we register ourselves and uphold our rights to vote.

Eddy Liow is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly his personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.