Sunday, May 18, 2014

Global Bersih

Dear Malaysians everywhere,
Global Bersih is now a proper NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland, which is widely recognised as the global centre for human rights advocacy.
Global Bersih’s Executive & Steering Committees
Global Bersih’s inaugral executive committee (EC) comprises William de Cruz, president (Sydney), Andrew Foong, secretary (currently in Sydney) and Praveen Nagappan, treasurer (Melbourne).
The Steering Committee (SC) includes, but is not limited to, Yolanda Augustin, Bala Chelliah, Ong Guan Sin, Charis Quay, Colin Rajah, Lim Chong Pin, Azza Basarudin, Kevin Bathman, and GB’s two liaison officers in KL, David Teoh and  Iskandar Fareez, all of whom are Global Bersih delegates.  Some delegates are not named here, because they prefer to remain anonymous.
International Delegates
Current delegates represent Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, London, Geneva, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney.
Our Patrons
Ambiga Sreenevasan and Samad Said have graciously consented to be our patrons, and Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah has given us her support on behalf of the KL Secretariat. Andrew Khoo, co-chair of the Malaysian Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee, is our legal adviser.
Statutes
As an organisation, we are now legally bound to our statutes. Global Bersih’s reason for existence as an NGO is explained in Article 3 of the statutes, which reads:
Born of a spontaneous outpouring of worldwide support for the demands of the  Bersih 2.0 rally in Malaysia on 9 July 2011, Global Bersih was created as a non-government organisation that remains politically independent . Its primary purpose is to support Malaysian civil society in its efforts to strengthen Malaysia’s maturing democracy.
The Organisation pledges to perpetuate this vision as a Swiss association.
Our Objectives
In the light of the demands made during and after the Bersih rallies, demands that continue to this day, the Organisation aims at the following goals, on behalf of Malaysia and its people:
  • Provide  active support to the stated demands of Bersih 2.0;
  • Urge the Government of Malaysia to take the necessary measures to set up a truly independent Election Commission of Malaysia , one that would take into account the recommendations made by independent and constitutional experts;
  • Urge the Government of Malaysia to immediately instruct such an independent Commission to investigate the discrepancies highlighted in the electoral roll and to take the necessary steps to clean up the electoral roll  before the re-delineation exercise, with involvement of the necessary stakeholders;
  • Protect and further human , civil, citizenship and environmental rights for all Malaysians and for all time.
  To this end, the Organisation will: 
  • Render audible  to the international community the voices and stories of ordinary Malaysians and of Malaysian civil society;
  • Enrich discussions of Malaysian issues, both in Malaysia and abroad, with the perspectives and experiences of a global community;
  • Support all efforts to establish and practise a policy of affirmative action for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, culture and ethnic background;
  • Attract the sympathy of Malaysian  citizens and encourage the involvement of Malaysian  communities from all over the world in supporting the goals aforementioned;
  • Gather resources to financially support carefully selected projects aimed  at the goals of the Organisation.
 The statutes also set out provisions for elections to the executive and steering committees. Elections will be held immediately after every federal poll in Malaysia, beginning with GE14. The inaugural  EC and SC will serve until GE14 is conducted.
Additionally, the statutes outline transparency and accountability requirements for all funds that we hope to raise in support of Bersih 2.0′s mandate for comprehensive electoral reform. We envisage that  funds will go towards –
  • Organising training, education and support for voter registration and eventually postal voting procedures
  • organising overseas speaking tours by Malaysia’s civil society leaders
  • helping host cities meet operational expenses as they may arise, if these host cities are not able to raise sufficient funds themselves
  • helping to meet legal costs that may arise as Malaysians work towards electoral reform
  • building our digital communications network, including the GB internet homepage and Twitter and Facebook platforms, and most importantly
  • offering financial help to Bersih 2.0 in KL.
Every individual on the executive and steering committees is working as a volunteer – GB’s statutes do not permit any salary payment to any office bearer or committee member.
Our group began teleconferencing in the months leading to GE13. The result of that election told us our work had become more important than ever. We set up GB on behalf of all Malaysians, to take a more formal, concerted and co-ordinated approach to global advocacy for reform.
Overseas Voting
We plan engagement with Malaysian public bodies. One main goal is helping the Election Commission institute proper overseas voting (advance voting)  procedures. We want to be part of the solution, a conduit and agent for change. This organisation is ours to make and shape. The inaugural executive and steering committee simply set it up, to lay the foundation for an organisation that must belong to all Malaysians.
Please Join Global Bersih
You can sign up by writing to your nearest city delegate using these email addresses:
sanfrancisco@globalbersih.org
geneva@globalbersih.orglondon@globalbersih.orgparis@globalbersih.orgauckland@globalbersih.orgsingapore@globalbersih.orglosangeles@globalbersih.orgwashingtondc@globalbersih.orgsydney@globalbersih.orgmelbourne@globalbersih.org
If you don’t feel any of these cities apply to you, write directly to the GB executive at gb.executive@globalbersih.org and ask to join.
We especially want to hear from Malaysians who have already built their city or regional networks and are willing to put their names forward as city/regional co-ordinators. Global Bersih hopes to expand our network, and recruit more city co-ordinators, to reach beyond the 84 cities that last joined in global solidarity with Malaysians at home.
A Database of Overseas Malaysians
Your delegates will very shortly be writing to you to build a new database of Malaysians living overseas, with your names and email addresses. As soon as we  find more help, this database will help us launch our newsletter, which we will use to keep you posted on strategies, plans and programs. This registration exercise is vital if Global Bersih is to truly become the voice of overseas Malaysians, a voice to be reckoned with. The more people behind Global Bersih, the stronger will be our demand to be heard, especially on matters such as making future overseas voting procedures as secure as possible by universal  standards.
Our Legitimacy
Please sign up to join Global Bersih through your delegates – we all need to begin the conversation on Malaysia. On a different level, Global Bersih needs to strengthen its voice for advocacy, and this can only be done with your participation and contribution as members of Global Bersih.
Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GlobalBersih3 and join that conversation.
We have just begun rebuilding our webpage, www.globalbersih.org, an ongoing project for which Global Bersih will need your help.
There is a lot of work ahead, with GE14 front and centre, and Global Bersih can only help Malaysians at home to bring about democratic change if we all work together.
On behalf of the Malaysians who have helped bring us to this moment in time – and they are not all with us today – and this inaugural Global Bersih group, I sincerely hope you receive this announcement as good news.
Global Bersih will write to you again very soon.
We can all build this organisation, and bring to life the dream we all share.
Salam Malaysia. Salam Bersih. Salam Global Bersih.
Most sincerely,
William de CruzPresidentGlobal Bersih16 May 2014Sydney

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