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Malaysia's Bersih may drop planned mass rally on July 9

07-04-2011 15:14 BJT

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 (Xinhua) -- In a surprising turn of events, the organizer of a massive rally scheduled on July 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said on Monday it is willing to meet the country's King and will call off the rally if told to do so.

The group, Bersih 2.0, said at a press conference it would abide by the King's advice to hold a dialogue towards achieving a consensus on electoral reform and the development of democracy in Malaysia.

They were responding to Mizan Zainal Abidin's written statement on Sunday that condemned the street demonstration, saying it ' brings more bad than good' regardless its intention.

"It is important that I, as the King, do not want to see this country with a plural society in a situation where there is animosity among them or a section of the people being enemies with the government, on any grounds," read his statement issued to state news agency Bernama.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators were expected to take to the streets of the country's capital, Kuala Lumpur in the mass rally for electoral reform in the country.

Bersih 2.0, a non-governmental organization that advocates a clean and fair election, made clear their demands: a cleaner electoral roll, the use of indelible ink for voters identification, free media access and extension to the campaign period among others.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak gave what appeared to be a last warning earlier on Monday to those who intend to join the rally.

"This is a reminder before it is too late. If they want to submit a memorandum and so forth they can show democratic decency by cooperating with authorities," Najib said at his office after chairing a meeting.

"The illegal rally is not intended to correct the system but is politically motivated to gain power via undemocratic means," he added.

The country's Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein outlawed Bersih 2.0 and closed door for any negotiations with the organizers as they refused to heed advices to give up their plan.

Police made a string of arrests that intensified over the weekend crackdown on those who expressed support for or instigate others to join them.

Among the arrests last week, six were detained under the Emergency Ordinance a law historically enacted to deal with riots in the 1960s.

Many others arrested were politicians and members of the parliament and state representatives from the opposition camp.

They were said to be distributing the symbolic yellow T-shirts and pamphlets inciting the public to support the rally.

The organization held a similar rally with a crowd between 10, 000 and 40,000 people in 2007 that dealt a major blow to the ruling coalition, who lost five states to the opposition in the 2008 election.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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