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KOTA KINABALU – Simultaneous Bersih 5 rallies took place in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching on 19 Nov 2016.
The objective of the rallies was to demand clean elections, a clean government, the strengthening of parliamentary democracy, the right to dissent and empowering Sabah and Sarawak.
In support of the rally, Bishop Bernard Paul of Melaka-Johor said, “Every change begins with us. We have to do our part. God will also do his part.”
In Kota Kinabalu, the assembly points were the open space in front of the Inland Revenue Board building, the open space near Sempelang shoplots in Sembulan and Taman Fortuna parking lot.
The converging venue was at Taman Rimba Ujana Tropika from 2 pm to 5:30 pm.
Juin from Pensiangan representating the Orang Asal Sabah (indigenous people) shared his people’s problem about the controversial communal grant in his village. After 10 hours of boat ride, six hours of land journey, around 20 of them arrived in Kota Kinabalu.
Father Rayner Bisius and several religious sisters took part in the rally as well.
In the past, Bersih’s rallies have drawn tens of thousands of people to protest in the streets calling for electoral and national reform. This year, Bersih is calling for accountability for the scandal surrounding state fund 1MDB. Civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice in July said a person codenamed “Malaysian Official 1” received millions of dollars misappropriated from the fund, but the person was not identified.
Bersih, named after the Malay word for “clean”, is an alliance of NGOs and civil society groups.
Participating in peaceful assemblies or rallies is part of the “attempts to bring about a politico-juridical order which will give better protection to the rights of the person in public life” (Gaudium et spes # 73).