KOTA KINABALU: Peaceful rally Bersih 3.0 was a huge success, according to its organiser, who said no untoward incident occurred throughout the two-hour gathering despite thousands of supporters showing up.
Its spokesperson, Andrew Ambrose, said they were happy with the considerably large turnout at the gathering held at Padang Merdeka here yesterday, even though a government-controlled mainstream media had been constant in portraying the event in a negative light.
“The main challenge was getting the public to come due to Bersih 3.0 being stepped upon in the media. The public were confused with the information published,” he said at a press conference after the rally, which was held from 2pm to 4pm.
Regardless of the one-sided media reports, he said over 2,000 people joined the gathering to call for a thorough clean-up of the country’s electoral processes.
He said Bersih’s national steering committee had been working very hard over the past months to get everyone to support their cause together, claiming the movement had so far managed to group over 20 sympathetic organizations.
Ansari Abdullah of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the main endorser of the event, said Bersih 3.0 marked a historic moment for the people of Sabah who wanted a fair and clean election.
“It has been proven today that without the interference of the police tear gas, we can maintain peace and order. We must thank the authorities here in KK for not interfering with out fundamental rights to voice our concerns and views.
“There is no chaos today. Businesses are not affected. In fact coffee shops have more customers as our supporters patronize their outlets. The transportation business also benefited.
“We have proven today that chaos is not what we want. We are Sabahans and violence is not our way,” he said.
Supporters of the non-governmental driven election reform movement meanwhile demanded bigger protest to be organized across the country after the coming general elections, if the authorities continue to ignore their demands.
Also taking part in the rally were members and leaders from PAS, DAP and SAPP as well as representatives from several youth associations, student bodies and other NGOs.
Bersih 3.0 was held together with two other rallies, namely Bangkit 2.0 to highlight native land right issues and anti-Lynas protest led by Sabah Green Movement.
In addition to their eight original requests related to electoral procedures, Bersih Sabah has also added two additional petitions into the list of their demands, namely the setting up of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegals and the resignation of the Sabah Election Commission (EC) for failing to protect the rights of voters in Sabah.
Their other demands include the use of indelible ink and allowed a minimum of 21 days’ campaign.
The movement has also developed and submitted their own draft on the terms of reference for the proposed RCI.