The following was first published on Waging Nonviolence:
Following the huge turnout of Bersih 2.0 in 2011, Bersih 3.0 returned on April 28 with renewed vigour and determination to make the voices of Malaysians heard. Meaning ‘clean’ in Malay, Bersih calls for clean and fair elections in a country fed up with problems of electoral fraud, phantom voters, vote-buying and a lack of independent public institutions. Following recent amendments to the Election Offenses Bill that have led to the removal of election monitors, Bersih 3.0 was seen as an opportunity to make the unhappiness of Malaysians known to their government and the international community.
While last year’s event was mainly focused in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Bersih 3.0 saw gatherings in 11 Malaysian cities, as well as solidarity events from around the world. Bersih 3.0 Singapore, though, came with a twist: although there was a solidarity event for Malaysians living and working in Singapore, it was held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Effectively, the event became Bersih 3.0 for Malaysians in Singapore… in Malaysia.
In Singapore, most public assemblies require permits from the police. Cause-related activities involving foreigners are rarely — if ever — allowed. Last year’s gathering of Malaysians at Hong Lim Park resulted in an organizer being called in for questioning by the police, and so it was no surprise when the permit for a gathering this year was rejected.
Bersih 3.0 Singapore therefore organized for Malaysians in Singapore (referred to as MiS) to meet up and travel across the Causeway to Johor Bahru, the closest Malaysian city. Organizers said that over 150 people made the trip.
The following was first published on Waging Nonviolence: Following the huge turnout of Bersih 2.0 in 2011, Bersih 3.0 returned on April 28 with renewed vigour and determination to make the voices of Malaysians heard....
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