When Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak goes to Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this month, he will be greeted by yet another rally calling for electoral reforms in Malaysia.Delegations from 54 Commonwealth nations will attend the three-day meeting at the Perth Convention Centre on Oct 28 and the rally organisers, CHOGM Action Network (CAN), is seizing the opportunity to draw international attention to Malaysia’s political situation.
CAN is endorsed by a wide range of activist networks, including Bersihkan Malaysia of Perth.
According to its Facebook page, Bersihkan Malaysia was set up to “nurture the spirit of unity to further the cause for democracy and justice on behalf of all Malaysians”. Its members are mostly Malaysians residing in Western Australia who took part in the July 9 Bersih rally there.
According to CAN spokesperson Chom Lee, participants in the Oct 28 rally will assemble at Forrest Place in downtown Perth to hear a number of speeches by notable speakers, including Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Wong Chin Huat.
There will be a march after the speeches. CAN is still in negotiations with the police department over the rally route, but it is hoping to be allowed to demonstrate close to the CHOGM venue.
“CHOGM is an international event and the best time to let the world know what is really happening in Malaysia,” Lee told by e-mail.
“There are many foreigners who are have been deceived by the government’s lies and believe that Malaysia practices true democracy.”
She said CAN would like to see Commonwealth leaders questioning Najib about Bersih 2.0′s eight demands as well as about corruption and separation of powers in Malaysia.
She gave several examples of alleged abuse of power and corruption, including deaths in custody and lingering questions about the purchase of Scorpene submarines and the wealth of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.
CAN will be holding a series of public forums until Oct 28 in an effort to attract at least 1,000 rally participants.
Asked if the participants would be clad in yellow, the colour associated with Bersih, Lee replied: “Yes. And we will also be carrying creative banners so that we stand out from the rest of the crowd.”
Lee, who has lived in Perth for the past decade, said his parents sent him out of Malaysia because he was a “victim to the country’s corrupted system”.
“I’m now fully employed here while fighting for the rights of the future generation back home,” he said.
“I’ve heard the views of many Malaysian youths either through conversation or on social media sites and I’m absolutely stunned.
“Most are very concerned about the country’s political issues. These youths need seniors to encourage and support them, which is one of the main reasons for CAN’s existence.”