Ambiga denies Bersih has been hijacked


(THE STAR) – Former Bar Council president Datuk S. Ambiga has denied that her Bersih movement has been hijacked by political parties.

“No one can (hijack Bersih) if we remain focused and single-minded about ensuring reforms before the 13th general election,” she said in a text message to The Star yesterday.

Her statement came in the light of criticisms by Bersih supporters that the Pakatan Rakyat coalition had hijacked the April 28 gathering, which was marked by violence and vandalism.

The accusation came in the website that was set up last Thursday, which also contained a video clip of a heated exchange between independent filmmaker Benji Lim and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The website, with a petition titled “Time to stop Pakatan Rakyat hijacking our movement”, allows visitors to e-mail Ambiga on the issue.

In its introduction, the website said: “We are angry. Why? Because Bersih should be an NGO by the people for the people of all races, areas and political views.

“But in Bersih 3.0, some Pakatan Rakyat bosses took advantage of our noble cause for their own political interests and benefit!”

Responding to the site, Ambiga said: “We await the Government’s response to our demands … the electoral roll continues to be a problem.

“Perhaps we can enlist the help of those behind to spread this message of Bersih,” she said.

Ambiga and leaders of the opposition coalition had blamed the police for the violence that broke out at the gathering, which the police initially allowed to be held as a sit-in rally at any of four venues other than Dataran Merdeka.