THE Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has confirmed that it will be holding a Bersih 5 rally on Nov 19, this year.
The fifth edition of the electoral watchdog’s rally is said to protest the issues involving the state’s strategic firm, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
It is currently conducting a nationwide convoy from Oct 1, which is hoped to culminate towards the rally.
Bersih in the first place had caught the attention of many as it seeks to reform the current electoral system in the country to ensure free, fair, and clean elections – hence, the name.
Its first rally in 2007 garnered tens of thousands of supporters nationwide, as many had gathered to express their dissatisfaction on what they perceived as a “misconduct” by the Election Commission, which had brought to the winning of the ruling coalition in previous elections.
I am in support of the idea to go against electoral frauds. I believed that these rallies encourage Malaysians to be politically active, and that it had led people to start discussing issues that they might not have cared about before.
However, as a citizen and an observer of Bersih assemblies, I do not support Bersih campaigning to the youths to participate in the streets.
Since its inception, the coalition had even sparked the gathering of students at various neighbouring countries, including the likes of Singapore and Australia.
This time around, even the PKR is adamant in deploying for about 1,000 of its Youth members to involve in its mini-convoys and events nationwide, to share information about Bersih and engage with the youths.
It is however unfortunate that Bersih is no longer about free and fair elections.
It is losing its touch on being the beacon of nonpartisan and trustworthy organization. Aside of demanding for the parliamentary democracy system to be strengthened, it know wants to save the country’s economy, call for the prime minister to step down, and to address the embezzlement linked to the 1MDB.
If I may ask Bersih; how does the latest goals really affect our electoral exercises? Does it really affect our democratic struggle?
It is absurd for one to join Bersih 5 rally if it is centered on such a mission. Not to mention to tag the youths along to the rally.
To top it off, not all youngsters attend political rallies because they are staunch supporters for the cause. There will be some quarters who will attend just to say that they have done it or just curious to check it out.
Some also thought that they would be part of a history if they join in. Previously, it has also been reported that many took rally as gateway to activism (https://www2.psy.uq.edu.au/~uqwloui1/jptalk.pdf), where those who attend one would either strengthen their beliefs or pick the new ones.
With this, youths are mostly curious, inexperienced, and eager to show support to a cause. All these could be a recipe for disaster if they cannot handle the brute actions that might occurred during the assembly.
The country had witnessed massive barbarian actions showcased during the rallies, and we certainly do not want that to happen to our youths.
By saying so, it does not mean that the youths should remain tight-lipped and soldier on the political happenings which are affecting them as much, but it is crucial for them to impose limits to their actions.
One should remember to not jeopardise his or her future for a cause that one barely understands. One must also realize that participating in the directionless Bersih is not a milestone you should be proud of, or something to tick of your list.
Balqis Rayhana is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly her personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.