PETALING JAYA: Tawfik Ismail is criticising Bersih 2.0 after its chairman Maria Chin Abdullah announced she would be leaving the electoral reform group to join politics.
Tawfik, who was formerly Sungai Benut MP, told Free Malaysia Today that Maria’s decision confirmed Barisan Nasional’s (BN) suspicions that the NGO was not as independent as it claimed to be.
“It’s expected. It only confirms BN’s view that Bersih is led and hijacked by the opposition,” he said.
He was responding to news that Maria said she would be offering herself as an independent candidate to Pakatan Harapan (PH) for the coming general election (GE14).
The moderation advocate also questioned whether Bersih 2.0 would be able to gain as much traction as it had in the past following Maria’s announcement.
He asked how its supporters would react to the news considering that PH was now led by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“What’s the future of Bersih? When it began, it rallied a broad spectrum of people.
“Now, instead of reforming the government, its leader has gone to the side of the man that inspired Bersih’s establishment, Mahathir.”
Bersih came to prominence with its first rally calling for electoral reforms ahead of the 2008 General Election. It brings together civil society groups, and has been behind several mammoth rallies in Kuala Lumpur.