Bersih rally to go on without police okay

KUALA LUMPUR • Kuala Lumpur police said they will not allow the rally by electoral reform group Bersih on Aug 29 and 30 because of a dispute in venues, but the group's chairman insisted that they intend to carry on.

"Now that DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) has not allowed them to gather at Padang Merbok or Dataran Medeka, and as no other venue has been suggested, we cannot allow the rally to go on," city police Chief Commissioner Tajuddin Md Isa said, as quoted by The Star.

He said the organisers have not even got back to police to give notice on the proposed rally.

"We will call the organisers to the Dang Wangi police headquarters to advise them not to carry on with the rally," he said yesterday.

Kuala Lumpur city officials have earlier refused permission, saying that the rally would interfere with preparations for national day celebrations on Aug 31. 

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said the group has yet to be informed about the police decision, although it is willing to talk to the police to iron things out.

"They haven't contacted me. I will wait for them to contact me," she told Malay Mail Online. "We will still carry on, but we will talk to the police. We've already submitted the form," she said, referring to the notice on the rally that Bersih 2.0 submitted last week.

She added that she cannot divulge how she would convince the police not to interfere with the rally, saying that she would first have to hear their grouses.

The group has urged Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down amid a political funding controversy. He chairs the advisory board of debt-laden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Bersih rally to go on without police okay'. Print Edition | Subscribe