Bersih 2.0 urges foreign monitors for GE13

By Kean Wong, The Malaysian Insider

CANBERRA, Nov 4 — Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has challenged the Najib administration to invite international observers for the next general election to demonstrate its confidence in free and fair elections, saying that a Mahathir-era precedent would easily enable this to recur.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has set up an all-party parliamentary select commission to look into demands for electoral reforms, including the eight listed by Bersih 2.0 for its July 9 rally.

“If you say the (electoral) system is OK, get international observers. Prove it to us,” Ambiga urged the Malaysian government, in an address at a packed Australian National University (ANU) law school theatre filled with students, lawyers and policy officials.

 “Bring in the international observers, let them observe our elections. That’s my call to the Malaysian government.

“If you say your system is fine and that it doesn’t need (electoral) reform before the 13th general election, I dare you to bring in international observers. And let them determine if our elections are free and fair,” said the Bersih 2.0 leader, who received a rock-star welcome at her ANU lecture.

Ambiga’s appearance at the ANU law school here this week concluded her lecture tour of Australia following several earlier engagements in Melbourne and Sydney.

She also held a raft of meetings in Canberra with Australian political leaders from various parties and met with foreign policy officials in the parliamentary zone, highlighting Bersih 2.0’s campaign for electoral reform and its eight key demands.

Her speech recounting the July 9 demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur and in over 30 cities worldwide, and her explanation of Bersih 2.0’s campaign for democratisation, was frequently interrupted by applause.

She was also mobbed afterwards by students and other Malaysians eager to photograph and record their meeting with her in Canberra.

The ANU organisers said hundreds from around the world had logged on to watch Ambiga’s talk and the discussion afterwards on a livestreaming service over the Internet, and a few questions from viewers abroad were answered by the Bersih 2.0 leader in the lecture hall.