The Election Commission in its most scathing attack on the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) said today the NGO's planned July 9 rally was merely to build momentum for Pakatan Rakyat's bid for Putrajaya.
This is because the first Bersih rally in 2007 led to the political tsunami of 2008, EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar told a forum called "Bersih's demands - what is the Election Commission's explanation?" today.
"There was (a 2007) demonstration and as result, a momentum was built and in the 2008 election (the opposition) won big... now, the rumour is that snap polls will be called and history will be repeated.
"(They think) let us have Bersih 2.0 with more supporters, the momentum will grow and possibly win Putrajaya," he told an audience of about 500 people.
Therefore, Wan Ahmad appealed to Bersih chief S Ambiga to disassociate the NGO from political parties, and put this as a condition for further engagement between the commission and the NGO.
"If Bersih separates itself from political parties, then we can meet Bersih as a member of civil society as its agenda is for the good of all," Wan Ahmad said.
He said “Bersih today is no longer the Bersih (he) used to know” and that is has become kusut (a mess), so much so that Ambiga did not realise that she was being used as a political tool.
“So many people want to join the bandwagon with so many issues… don't blame the police, they have a bigger responsibility. Sane people will remove themselves from this group and let the political party go ahead and take the risk (of persecution),” he said.
On the demand for the use of indelible ink, on which civil society “harassed and put the commission was under pressure” to adopt in 2008, Wan Ahmad said the move was “regressive” as the only countries in the world that use it are the less developed countries of Africa and Indonesia.
In an immediate response, Bersih 2.0 chief S Ambiga swatted aside the EC's accusations, saying that it is the commission that bears the burden of proving it is impartial.
“The EC has to be very careful what they say, because they may accuse me of many things but the constitution requires them to be independent.
“Is what they are saying; does it show they are independent? That's all, and I ask the public to judge for themselves,” she said.
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