Twenty-six NGOs will hold an alternative Merdeka Day countdown celebration at Dataran Merdeka to remind the federal government of its unfulfilled promises in ensuring free and fair elections.
Bersih steering committee head A Samad Said said today the event – dubbed the Janji Bersih (Clean Promises) gathering – will require participants to don yellow to symbolise their struggle for free and fair elections.
However, Samad stressed, the event is not organised under the name of Bersih because only 26 NGOs out of more than 80 coalition members have endorsed this event. Others groups are expected to join in soon.
The Janji Bersih theme is an obvious play on the federal government’s Janji Ditepati (Promises Fulfilled) Merdeka Day theme, which has been ridiculed as pro-BN propaganda.
“All these while, we have been hearing ‘promises’ for this coming Merdeka celebration. We know what everyone wants a cleaner and fairer Malaysia in the 55th Merdeka Day celebrations.
“To celebrate the theme Janji Bersih, we call upon all Malaysians of all races from all corners of Malaysia, both young and old, to wear yellow on that very night,” Samad told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Event to kick-off next to fountain
The event will kick off at 10pm, around the fountain located at the northern-most point of Dataran Merdeka, adjacent to the field where the federal government sponsored countdown will take place.
Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia coordinator Badrul Hisham Shaharin, another speaker at the press conference, said the Janji Bersih gathering is to remind the people that Bersih’s eight demands to the government to improve the election process are yet to be fulfilled.
“We encourage those who will join the event to wear yellow because it symbolises the eight demands of Bersih for clean and fair elections.”
“We want to return the people’s rights to celebrate an authentic Merdeka, for independence is all about individual rights as a citizen in this country,” Badrul Hisham added.
Empower executive director Maria Chin Abdullah also said that the organisers need not apply for a police permit, as the event is neither a demonstration nor a protest.
“We are just there with fellow Malaysians to celebrate the Merdeka countdown and we just want to wear yellow.
“Is there anything wrong in that?” asked Maria, dismissing suggestions that the groups were trying to hijack the official Merdeka countdown event.