Bersih rally in Kuching cancelled, organisers cite technical issues and rule flouting

The Bersih 4 rally in Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, was officially cancelled on Aug 30, 2015.
The Bersih 4 rally in Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, was officially cancelled on Aug 30, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUCHING (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Sarawak Bersih 4 rally in the capital ended after an announcement on Sunday that nearly all planned activities had been cancelled due to techical reasons and the flouting of rules prohibiting children by some participants.

"We will continue to be here for people to sign the banners, unfortunately, it is difficult to continue with our full programme," Sarawak Bersih spokesman Karen Shepherd told reporters.

She said organisers had relied on a "third party" for the public address system, which was disassembled and carted away on Saturday evening.

"We had a lot of problems organising for another one at the last minute," she said.

The event was supposed to have ended at midnight on Sunday.

Overall, it was a good event, Ms Shepherd said, adding that Sarawakians had "sent an appropriate message of wanting free and fair democratic elections".

Organising chairman Nicholas Mujah apologised to the small crowd that had gathered at the venue at 10am.

"We are still asking for signatures. We are still doing that. Sorry, maybe this was not the best organised event," Mr Mujah said.

He told reporters later that another reason for the cancellation of events was the presence of too many children on Saturday night, which had been prohibited by the police.

The organisers aim to deliver the signatures to Chief Minister Adenan Satem on Tuesday.

"We'll deliver it to the CM. I think this is freedom of expression and action. The state government should look at what the ordinary people did this weekend, taking time out to be here," Ms Shepherd said.

Kuching police chief Roslan Bek also told the Malaysian Insider that four police reports had been filed against the rally.

He said participants who brought children with them to the rally were advised to bring them home, according to Astro Awani news.

He also said that the police had confiscated many banners from participants on Saturday before they entered a protest field, as they were bearing words that were sensitive.