1900: After a long day, the 24 PSM activists including two teenagers are to be charged under the Societies Act (involvement in an illegal organisation) and the ISA (possession of subversive documents). They have been released on bail of RM8000 each.
1545: Light Strike Force unit stationed outside the Butterworth court premises. Follow twitter in right side-bar for updates. Aliran has released a statement.
1345: The 21 remaining detained PSM activists in mainland Penang have been brought in police trucks to the Butterworth Magistrate’s Court.
1252:The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) will abide by the decree of the DYMM YDP Agong and seek an audience with him to convey their concerns.
A statement was released at a press conference this morning:
BERSIH 2.0 expresses our appreciation for the understanding and support of Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan of the people’s aspiration for electoral reform.
BERSIH 2.0 will abide by the decree of Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan on the urgent need for dialogue and reconciliation, to facilitate the emergence of a national consensus on electoral reforms and democratization.
BERSIH 2.0 seeks an audience with Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan to present the people’s concerns and aspirations for urgent and speedy electoral reforms and democratization in full support of the wish of Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan for national reconciliation.
During the press conference, committee members denounced “in the strongest terms” the detention of six PSM activists under the emergency ordinance. “It is the same thing as ISA,” they say. The family and lawyers of the six will be going to Bukit Aman today. A total of 189 people, including 10 elected reps, have been arrested or detained so far in connection with Bersih 2.0.
Steering committee members have stressed Bersih 2.0 is a coalition of NGOs rather than an organisation and they are campaigning for a cause that has medium and long-term goals i.e. clean and fair elections. There are many other NGO coalitions around championing various causes. “It’s important to recognise that holding peaceful gathering to raise an issue is a part of a healthy parliamentary democracy,” said steering committee member Toh Kin Woon.
Marina Mahathir, speaking on behalf of Sisters-in-Islam, which is part of Bersih 2.0, was scathing: “Only people who are afraid will clampdown on people wearing certain T-shirts. If we’re fearful of words then we are really, really a third world country or less. We should rise above that. Why on earth do we take third world models of demonstrations as our model instead of first world models?”
Najib, meanwhile, has reportedly said the Bersih gathering can go ahead if it is held in a stadium, which the government is willing to make available. “We are willing to provide a stadium for them to rally but why choose to protest in the streets. The government is not against them rallying in a stadium from morning until night. Just don’t hold street protest as it is very risky to the nation,” the Insider quoted him as saying. (Are the yellow T-shirts allowed then?)
This morning, Ambiga met with Badawi in an attempt to resolve the situation.
A lot of other things happening today:
Over in Butterworth, the 21 remaining political activists, plus others who had been released on Friday night, are expected to be in the Magistrate’s Court this afternoon. Lawyers inside and relatives and supporters outside the court premises have been waiting since 8.00am. But the police trucks are still at the police stations and the detainees have not yet been transported to court.
In KL the first day of the inquest into the death of Selangor Customs Assistant Director, Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed is in progress.