What’s the deal with this Bersih thing?
So I’ve reblogged a bunch of Bersih 4 rally stuff, and I thought you guys might like to know what’s up with that. I’m not particularly well-versed in this, but here are the basics:
Earlier this year, the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib (I refuse to use honorifics), was reported by Wall Street Journal to have transferred RM2.6 billion (that’s about $700 million) out of a government-run development company, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, into his own personal accounts. Yes, under his own name.
One month later, he claimed that this RM2.6 billion was, in fact, donations, primarily from Saudi Arabia as thanks for fighting ISIS. A different government official claims to have seen the cheque with his very own eyes. (Dude, who writes cheques for $700 million? Also, why would donation money go into the prime minister’s personal accounts, and not that of the government or the political party?)
The worst part is that the government is shutting down everyone who dares speak out about this. The Sarawak Report, the website that had been primarily involved with exposing all this, was blocked. The Edge, a newspaper that had been reporting about this 1MDB scandal, has been suspended. Government ministers critical of the scandal have been removed from their positions. Even the attorney general heading the investigation into the scandal was, without warning, forced to resign. (Literally, he walked into the office and was told he wasn’t supposed to be there.)
Bersih means clean in Malay; the Bersih 4 rally is a huge protest by the Malaysian people who are infuriated by the actions (or lack thereof) being taken to punish the prime minister for his crimes. Bersih 4′s five demands are:
1. Free and fair elections
2. A transparent government
3. The right to demonstrate
4. A stronger parliamentary democracy system
5. The rescue of the national economy
There’s still so much more that’s happened. This is Bersih 4, this is the fourth time Malaysians have felt the need to protest against a corrupt government. Even now, we are being oppressed, forced into silence. The newspapers and radio stations cannot report anything that casts the government in a bad light for fear of having their publishing license revoked. Just wearing a Bersih 4 T-shirt is now illegal.
Bersih protesters hate Malaysia, Najib says. I am Malaysia is what he means. How dare you oppose me? How dare you say I am at fault? How dare you use your brains and think for yourselves? How dare you protest for your rights? How dare you make the news? How dare you show the world that Malaysians hate their leader?
How dare you try to strip my power away?
There is little hope that things will change. Honestly, we can protest all we like; it doesn’t matter. The government doesn’t care about us. They will not change. But we cannot roll over and let this happen. We cannot stand by and watch as our country crumbles. We have to do something, we have to fight for change, because if we don’t, then who will?
We love our country, even if our country does not love us.
Please spread the word.