Walking with us on July 9 for a level playing field will help salvage ruling government's dented credibility, says Bersih 2.0 chairperson.
“We have extended invitations to all parties and the opposition has responded,” she said. “The invitation is still open for BN component parties.”
Ambiga said this when addressing an audience of 700 activists, civil society and NGOs members at the launch of the Bersih 2.0 rally at the Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall last night.
She added that it would be good for BN to join the assembly on July 9 as it would raise BN’s credibility to win on a free and fair election.
Ambiga who is former Bar Council president also had a message for the police force.
“We will give full cooperation to the police on July 9. We know that the police are planning to take action under Police Act but you cannot bar my right to assemble and walk as enshrined under the Federal Constitution,” said Ambiga.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim meanwhile threw a gauntlet to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that if he can assure free and fair elections, he would ask Ambiga to call off the Bersih rally.
Ambiga, in a swift retort, said the rally was “not about me” and it was not in Anwar’s place to make such a call to halt the people’s demand for a fair and free electoral process.
The July 9 rally is the second such rally by Bersih, the election watchdog. Up to 50,000 took part in the first one in 2007 in Kuala Lumpur.
Police armed with tear gas and water cannons dispersed the crowd at several locations in the city then. The rally has been credited for the Pakatan Rakyat’s record gains in the 2008 general election.
The opposition pact swept to power in five states and won 82 parliamentary seats.
PAS has promised to bring about 300,000 protesters this year in hopes that it will galvanise support for the opposition in the next general election, expected to be called within a year.
Perkasa and 164 other NGOs as well as Umno Youth have said they will march on July 9 to counter the Bersih rally.
Perkasa earlier yesterday kicked off its counter-protest to Bersih 2.0 by burning images of Ambiga and warning the Chinese to stay indoors as “anything could happen”.
Stop the fear-mongering
In another devlopment, a PKR leader slammed the BN politicians for fear-mongering by suggesting that the rallies on July 9 would be violent.
Malacca PKR vice president G Rajendran said Umno and other BN party leaders were spreading fear in the hope that members of the public would not attend the Bersih rally.
He added that BN leaders in Malacca had been telling the people that the clash between Bersih and Perkasa/Umno Youth protesters would be something like the May 13, 1969 riot.
“Comparing the Bersih rally with the May13 riot is a very serious offence. The Bersih rally organisers have stressed that their gathering would be peaceful,” he told FMT.
He said the BN and the police should stop threatening members of the public with arrest for taking part in the Bersih rally.
Meanwhile, a coalition representing of 20 Indian NGOs calling themselves Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (Aman) today said they would join forces with Bersih to participate in the rally.