Bersih keeps momentum alive with overseas campaign

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Bersih 2.0 will step up its fight for electoral reforms next week when chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan goes on a back-to-back visit to four of the most renowned law universities in Australia where she will meet Malaysian students to highlight the various problems plaguing the country’s electoral system. 

The Malaysian Insider understands that the respected lawyer has been scheduled to deliver a public lecture hosted by the Asian Law Centre at the University of Melbourne, followed by public appearances at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney (October 31) and the Law Faculty of the Australian National University in Canberra on November 1. 

It is understood the events will also allow overseas Malaysians who have yet to register as voters a chance to do so. 

“Campaigns to register Malaysians as voters have picked up steam in Australia. Bersih 2.0 and the ugly events that transpired in Kuala Lumpur on July 9 have inspired Malaysians living overseas in ways that we could only have imagined before. 

“Hundreds of Malaysians gathered in solidarity with Bersih 2.0  in 7 Australian cities with over 700 in Melbourne and 400 in Sydney,” said David Teoh, national coordinator for both Bersih 2.0 Australia and the Australian chapter for Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Australia (SABMoz). 

Ambiga’s (picture) appearance in Australia next week is expected to put pressure in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who will also be in the western Australia city of Perth on October 28 to attend the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). 

“This visit by Ambiga will serve to remind the Australian government and its citizens that a close regional neighbour and trading partner administers a system that willfully denies hundreds of thousands of Malaysians the right to vote from abroad,” Teoh told The Malaysian Insider via email.