PETALING JAYA: With the impending explosive Bersih 3.0 rally to be held at Dataran Merdeka on Saturday, the group’s chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has agreed to face Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin in the highly anticipated debate on electoral reforms.
The debate, the second in The Malay Mail’s Spark the Debate series will be held tomorrow (Wednesday, April 25) at 8pm at The Club@Bukit Utama, Bukit Utama Golf Course in Bandar Utama.
Entitled Electoral Reform: Is enough being done?, the debate is supported by UCSI University and Yayasan Orator, whose CEO, Muhammad Yunus Zakariah, will play moderator.
Khairy, who was recently appointed as Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd chairman, has been highly critical of the decision to organise a second Bersih rally in less than a year after Bersih 2.0, held in July, last year.
He began his criticisms on Twitter during the tabling of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) report on Electoral Reforms in Parliament.
“My prediction: The opposition will not acknowledge the report by the PSC, tomorrow, and go back to their street protests,” he tweeted in Bahasa Malaysia on April 3.
He also tweeted: “So if Bersih 3.0 is proposed, it will essentially be for a 21-day campaign period. Is it worth it? Other concerns addressed and fulfilled.”
Following confirmation, Khairy tweeted: “I have agreed to debate Ambiga on April 25 regarding electoral reforms.”
Ambiga immediately responded: “I look forward to sparring with you on the 25th!”
Khairy shot back: “Don’t forget to wear yellow”, referring to Bersih’s trademark colour.
Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk A. Samad Said had reportedly said the third rally was necessary as PSC’s 22-point proposals on electoral reforms had fallen short in introducing meaningful reforms to the electoral system.
NGOs to make same demands He said the proposal had failed to address the manipulations of the electoral roll and commitment to it implementing the reforms before the next general elections.
The coalition of 84 non-governmental organisations said it would make the same eight demands at Dataran Merdeka.
Bersih 2.0, which drew thousands to the streets, demanded the cleaning of the electoral roll, reforms to postal voting, the use of indelible ink, free and fair access to media, a minimum 21-day campaign period, the strengthening of public institutions, a stop to political corruption, and an end to “dirty” politics.