Report on the Bersih NL Launch and Forum with Ivy Josiah (Global Bersih & Member of Programme Committee, Bersih 4 Malaysia ) In Den Haag on 1 Nov 2015

It is our pleasure to welcome Ivy JosiahSteering Committee member of Global Bersih & Member of the Programme Committee, Bersih 4 Malaysia, to The Hague. We organized a meeting with a group of Malaysians, and Ivy shared her recent experience in the history-making Bersih 4.0 rally back in Kuala Lumpur which took place on 29-30 August 2015. The forum with Ivy was held in a meeting room in The American Book Center in the centre of The Hague from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

We started with a short video featuring Datuk Ambiga who gave a summary of current developments in Malaysia. Details of the forum with Maria Chin (Bersih Chairman) and Dato Noor Farida (Member of G25) that took place on 3 October 2015 in London were also shared.

Participants then introduced themselves and gave their views about on what is currently going on in Malaysia. This was followed by Ivy’s account of what took place at the Bersih 4.0 rally. Below is a summary of her experience:

1) The event was a success, and hundreds of thousands flocked to Kuala Lumpur on 29-30 Aug 2015. It was so packed that moving from one point to another took a lot more time than usual, e.g. it took 45 minutes to cover a distance which usually takes 10 minutes.

2) The event was attended by all races. Compared to Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0, Bersih 4.0 saw a bigger participation by Chinese.

3) Compared with Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0, when the police used tear gas, Bersih 4.0 was more organized and coordinated and there was less intervention by the police

4) Thousands also stayed and slept on the streets of Kuala Lumpur on the night of 29 August – something which the organizers did not expect.

5) There was an incredible spirit of camaraderie and sense of unity.

6) Ivy was on one of the ‘mobile stages’ (pick-up trucks) from which Bersih leaders addressed the people during the rally.

7) There were also ‘tactics’ by certain parties to create chaos or confusion among the Bersih 4.0 organizers, e.g. there were bogus text messages about several rally participants killed by the police.

When asked whether there were plans for Bersih 5.0, Ivy mentioned that the current focus is on mobilizing NGOs on the ground to create awareness about rampant corruption and abuse of power by the current government.

Ivy also brought a message from the Global Bersih Committee that we should continue to reach out to more Malaysians and create awareness about what is going on in Malaysia. What we can do is to register ourselves as voters (more details in this link) and to encourage more Malaysians to participate in an overseas voting survey that is accessible online (so that Global Bersih can work towards a reform of the overseas voting process for Malaysians overseas).

Next we introduced the goals and objectives of Bersih NL:

Our Goals

  • To promote awareness among Malaysians living in the Netherlands and nearby countries of current social, political and economic developments in Malaysia.

  • To encourage discussion and critical thinking about the state of social, political and economic progress in Malaysia.

  • To seek ways and means to ensure a fair and clean overseas voting system for overseas Malaysians casting their votes in the General Election.

  • To link Malaysians in the Netherlands to the Global Bersih movement.

Our Objectives

  • To create a platform for Malaysians from all walks of life in the Netherlands and nearby countries, for them to be informed and to share their views about the social, political and economic situation in Malaysia.

  • To encourage Malaysians in the Netherlands to exercise their right to vote and to register themselves for the General Election.

  • To disseminate reports and recordings of Bersih-related events to a wider audience through written and audio visual media.

We then had our first membership sign-ups from the participants who attended the forum. We hope to raise €350 to start a stichting (foundation), so that Bersih NL is registered as a legal association with its own bank account for collecting donations for all Bersih NL activities.

Our target is to get at least 20 members to sign up within the next two weeks. If you would like to make a difference, join us! All you have to do is to download the membership form, fill in your details and email it back to us at: contact@bersih.nl.

We hope to organize more events to gather like-minded Malaysians together to share and exchange views and experiences on important topics close to our hearts and involving our beloved country. So come one, come all and stay tuned!

Salam bersih from Bersih NL

Ivy Josiah 1_small

Ivy Josiah 2_smallIvy Josiah 4_small

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Bersih 4 in NL – 29 Aug 2015

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29 Aug 2015- Writing from the Netherlands. We planned this event in just 2 days and it was a last minute decision. However, we managed to gather more than 43 people (excluding children) at the Malaysian Embassy at the Hague.  If we have planned this earlier, I am confident that more will turn up, as there is definitely a solidarity of unhappiness on what is happening in Malaysia on the 1MDB scandals.
We gathered at 2pm with our banners and flags, bravely putting them up at the Embassy to state out points, and managed to take some photos.  However, we were asked to take them down a few minutes later by the local police, as we did not have permission to stage protests at the embassy. However, that did not stop us from marching on from the embassy to the Peace Palace, where we gathered and shared the concerns we have about our beloved country with each other.
We brought water and snacks to share with each other and some nice curry puffs and egg tarts were passed around. 🙂
The gathering was concluded at 4:30pm with a group photo at the Peace Palace and a singing of Negaraku for our beloved country, Malaysia.  We will continue to pray for our country!
Salam mesra from the Netherlands.
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Report for the Forum with Maria Chin Abdullah and Dato’ Noor Farida, in London on 3 Oct 2015

forum in London

Date : 3 Oct 2015

Time : 2pm-5pm (started a bit late)

I think there were about a 100 people attended the event. The event started with introduction from the organizer and later passed over to the chairlady to ask Maria Chin (Bersih Chairperson) and Dato Noor Farida Ariffin (G25 member). First question was about whether Bersih 4 was a success. The answer from Maria was it was a success as they expected only 200,000 people but 500,000 people gathered in KL streets and about 2000 people slept on the street that night. Dato Noor said she was there also in the rally and though the first day there were a lot of Chinese but the Malays started to join in the second day (with their families). This showed that the Bersih 4 was not racist and it was participated by all races. In fact, the Bersih 1 and Bersih 2 were started by mostly Malays for the past elections.

The objectives were these 5 demands:-

(1) Clean Elections
(2) Clean Governments
(3) Save our economy
(4) Right to Dissent

(5) Parliamentary Reform

There was another question about whether Bersih is reaching out to the rural areas as most voters there have no access to the mass media and are cut off from the latest information on the country leadership’s scandals. Maria mentioned that there are works to train up young Malays leaders to reach out to the rural areas and through our network with local NGOs there. She admitted that this is an area that Bersih has to give attention to.

When asked whether Tun Mahathir appeared during the Bersih 4 rally to give his support made a difference, Maria mentioned that we need to be careful about Tun M trying to use other’s machinery to achive his agenda – which is to get rid of NTR as PM but he did not support the 5 demands of Bersih 4. The whole problem of misuse of power was rooted from the system existed for a long time under the Ruling party and it does not only happen now.

Dato Noor mentioned that her team of G25 are working on getting a new tribunal for a clean and fair election. First, is for all political parties should not be receiving funds from overseas which allows the manipulation our country’s politics by outside powers. This process will take time and we hope to get this out before the next GE14.

Currently, Bersih is working on getting a “no confidence” vote in parliament and to gather support from both the opposition and BN MPs whom we have voted to be our leaders. We have voted them for our leadership and we expect them to speak up during this critical time as our leaders. This will take time to have our country to be mature enough for both opposition leaders and the ruling party to work together to fight corruptions.

There are currently 8-9 people arrested and charged for organizing the last rallies and their hearing is next week. Maria mentioned that she does not have high hopes that it will be on our favor. Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan is being placed under detention for 28 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), is a very scary act, the person can be detained for a life time under this act without trial. However, doing nothing is not an option. We need to continue to work on the reform for our future generations.

When asked how we can replace the current government when the opposition is weak, Maria said that the Bersih agenda is not political. We are about the 5 demands (as mentioned above), regardless of which political party is ruling. We need a new reform of the electoral system which is bias towards the ruling party.

There was also a question from one of the audience on what we can do next. The answer is for us to be informed as much as possible about what is going on in Malaysia, to spread the word to more Malaysians overseas on the power abuse and to get ourselves ready for overseas voting to make a difference in the next GE in 2018.

I have posted some of the forum’s photos on our facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010202857996

Do add yourself as friend to get the latest updates if you have not already. I am looking at ways to get us connected to continue to discuss about our concerns for our beloved country Malaysia. I hope to setup an online forum where we can continue to discuss soon.

Do keep in touch.

Salam Bersih.

Bersih NL

4 Oct 2015

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