A death threat has done little to dent Bersih's commitment to rally for clean and fair elections.
The message warned that Bersih chairperson, Ambiga Sreenevasan, and those connected to her would be killed if the rally proceeded as planned on July 9.
After lodging a police report at the Travers police station at 12pm today, a calm Ambiga confirmed that “Walk For Democracy” would continue as scheduled.
“I now leave this up to the police,” she told the media. “I believe they will be able to trace the sender’s identity as they have a phone number. But there is no change to the rally on July 9.”
While she said that the text wasn’t a surprise, she expressed disappointment that a fellow Malaysian could threaten what is intended to be a peaceful event.
“We are peaceful, we are peaceful,” she reiterated. “And we assure Malaysians that we will do our utmost in being responsible for keeping the rally that way. This message is already out there.”
Ambiga also welcomed the statement by Home Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, that he was taking the threat very seriously and would conduct investigations into the matter.
She added that she was fully prepared to cooperate with the authorities in keeping July 9 safe and peaceful.
‘Talk to us directly’
When asked if she was taking any security measures as a result of the death threat, Ambiga smiled and replied, “Yes but I prefer to keep them to myself. And as long as the police do their work I have no reason to be afraid.”
Others who received the text message included Bersih steering committee members, Wong Chin Huat and Maria Chin Abdullah, lawyer Latheefa Koya and PKR Youth deputy chief, Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin. All four also lodged police reports today.
“This is unacceptable because it contains racial connotations,” stated Maria referring to the words “keling paria” and “Cina sial” in the text.
“The person who sent it should be brave enough to talk to us directly.Tell us what your problem is with a peaceful rally for clean and fair elections.”
Khairul also condemned these racial slurs and emphasised that PKR would stand on the front lines with the Bersih committee on July 9.
Meanwhile PKR Youth deputy information chief, Rozan Mat Rasip, branded the incident an emergence of “a hooligan culture” in Malaysia.
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“The text was sent to political leaders and activists who have no ties to the Bersih committee,” he pointed out. “It appears that the sender received orders from a high authority and I hope the Home Ministry conducts a thorough investigation.”
In a related development, the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) condemned the death threat made against Ambiga and the others.
MCLM president Haris Ibrahim said that every effort had been made to prevent the rally from taking place but “this death threat goes beyond the pale”.
He said MCLM was saddened to see that such deep-seated bigotry and hatred exists in Malaysia.
“This situation is the result of ignorance born of a skewed economy, flawed education system and theabsence of social justice, which are the consequences of five decades of BN rule,” he added in a statement.