Even a 100 BERSIH will not make a difference – by Navinn Rajendran

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or fondly known as BERSIH have been constantly organizing peaceful street protest seeking to reform the current electoral system in Malaysia to ensure free, clean and fair elections. BERSIH recently had their fifth rally which went on peacefully despite being opposed by other groups with different opinion.

Formed on 23rd November 2007, its always a shame that the 2008 election results are credited to this movement. For the record, the first BERSIH protest was nowhere near HINDRAF’s 2007 protest and people were already ready for a change in representation and governance. Malaysians were ready to embrace change due to weak administration and racial issues. BERSIH was more of a tool of the opposition to pursue their agenda which was politically right.

Which political party wouldn’t want to take advantage of any situation? Is the electoral system in Malaysia clean? I would say NO. There are phantom voters as during the last election campaigns, a few IC numbers were circulated to be checked online and sadly those individuals were too old to be alive. What’s sad is how smart can the EC be to be exposed in such a manner and still say they are clean. The demands for BERSIH grew further adding on to no corruption and no dirty politics. How clean is the politics in the 5 political parties that endorsed BERSIH? I’m not saying that the rest are clean.

But isn’t it important to clean out own house before cleaning the street? The Perak state fell in the hands of Barisan Nasional because of corrupt Pakatan Rakyat state representatives. The Anwar Ibrahim Family Agenda is also another factor we cannot ignore whom uses any chance and opportunity to stay in power. I will never deny Anwar Ibrahim’s charisma and strength, but somewhere the fear of losing out and making sure his legacy is continued though family reign and the means taken to achieve it at times irks me. And on a personal note, Parti Sosialis Malaysia is a useless party and whomever they endorse I oppose.

Any government will do anything within their authority to stay in power. It could be the federal government or the state government. For instance take DAP. They couldn’t even run their party polls fairly and they went on ranting about EC. But of course, MIC of Barisan Nasional which had its previous president G. Palanivel’s wife making election decisions was also a setback which took some time to be resolved.

But MIC didn’t rant over EC but DAP did. Now let’s say people were to ask me to look at the bigger picture which many have and I did, I came to a conclusion that even a 100 BERSIH will not make a difference. It is not that BERSIH is illegal or not strong. The voice of people can never be illegal or weak. But it’s just people are not willing to sacrifice for the country.


No government on earth will collapse if you protest 1 to 3 days once every 2 or 1 year. It is absolute rubbish and the organizers of BERSIH know this too. Will Selangor and Penang state government collapse if I gather 20,000 people to protest in their respective state? NO. BERSIH apart from its demands is more of a uniting event for me. All Malaysians from all walks of life gather without expectations, bravely voicing out their grouses and making sure everyone are safe and treating each other with respect as they march and gather.

That is the essence of BERSIH. But the demands of BERSIH can never be regarded as the demands of all Malaysians either. In the parliament, the opposition leaders are extremely weak with their representation too. They can never topple the government in anyway. If BERSIH is genuine in their demand for a better Malaysia, they must follow suit the Yellow Shirt Protestors of Thailand. The protest went on daily until the government collapsed. Many lives were lost.

Investors were pulling out. Red Shirt protestors were attacking them. Police and army were making arrests. But they never gave up. Streets became their home. They wanted change and they changed. It was not a one day drama. The yearning for a better nation was real. How many Malaysians are willing to risk everything they have for Malaysia? How many opposition politicians are willing to do so? None.