Ambiga: I’m flattered and humbled

FMT’s newsmaker of the year also pays tribute to those on her personal list of heroes for 2011.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Mainstream and alternative media were fed an almost daily diet of Bersih 2.0 updates in the weeks preceding July 9, 2011.

On the earmarked day, downtown Kuala Lumpur was swallowed up by tens of thousands of Malaysians marching for a cause they believed in and the kind of future they wanted to bequeath the next generation.

It is almost impossible to have been the driving force behind such power and not be handpicked as the newsmaker of the year.

Yet Bersih 2.0 chairperson, S Ambiga, was genuinely taken aback when she learnt that she had topped FMT’s Newsmaker for 2011 poll with 3,284 or 57% of the votes.

“On the one hand I am very flattered and humbled,” she told FMT. “On the other, I hope it is for the ‘right’ reasons that I made the news!”

“I’m not sure if I’m thrilled to be in the company of some of the nominees but I’m delighted to be in the company of others.”

Bersih 2.0 wasn’t Ambiga’s first courtship with controversy. Her involvement, as the Bar chairman, to strongly support Lina Joy in the apostasy case and the March For Justice won her as many adversaries as they did allies. But amid the hate mails, death threats and Molotov cocktails, she refused to abandon Bersih 2.0.

“I’d like to think that I was chosen (as FMT’s Newsmaker for 2011) because of what Bersih 2.0 stood for and meant to Malaysians,” she said. “The credit belongs to the people for their tremendous support in making it the success that it was.”