PETALING JAYA: Bersih has announced that it will hold a by-election to fill the position of chairperson which fell vacant after its incumbent Thomas Fann resigned on Sunday.
The electoral watchdog said the new steering committee (SC) held its inaugural meeting last night to discuss the group’s path forward after the recent 2023-2025 term election and Fann’s resignation.
“Fann explained his decision to resign, and the SC understands and respects the decision of the chairperson,” it said in a statement today.
“An ad hoc election committee (EC) will be formed to conduct the election. Notice of the nomination, campaign and polling periods will be announced by the EC to all our endorsing NGOs in due course.”
Fann’s resignation came shortly after his re-election to the chairperson post. He had cited a lack of support for his attempt to “evolve Bersih into a people’s institution”.
With four of five senior committee posts taken up by a rival faction, Fann said he saw it as a “clear message” that his vision and direction for Bersih had been rejected.
He also said he could not continue as he and former student activist Wong Yan Ke had opposing views on the direction Bersih would take.
In its statement, Bersih said Fann had assured that he would help facilitate a smooth transition of responsibilities to the new SC and chairperson.
“Fann, who chaired the meeting, then went on to explain the operational structure of the Bersih team, the roles of each SC member, ongoing programmes and advocacies,” it said.
Assurance was also given by executive director Ooi Kok Hin that the secretariat would continue supporting the new SC to maintain Bersih’s relevance and impact in advocating for electoral and institutional reforms, it added.