PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 hopes the public will support its latest fundraising campaign launched today, saying its funds can only last the next seven months.
Its chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said the organisation only has RM520,000 in its coffers at the moment.
“Our funds can last for about seven months, provided that if we don’t have to suddenly spend so much in our programmes leading up to the upcoming polls.
“We share a common belief and with all the support, we believe that we can have a clean and fair election,” she told a news conference here.
She explained that the funds are needed to cover legal costs in their ongoing court cases, which might come up to a total of RM120,000.
“It’s a lot. At the moment, we have to spend about RM50,000. But, we have at least seven to eight cases pending at court. This will bring our legal costs up to RM120,000.
“If we are charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) and fined the maximum of RM10,000, we can only assume that it’s going to be lots of money,” she said.
Maria also said that the group has about 120 cases ongoing police investigation cases under the PAA and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012 for undermining parliamentary democracy.
Most of the investigations were made on the PAA based on the Bersih 5 nationwide convoy last year, she added.
“During the convoy itself, we have about 100 cases. It’s a costly event but we have to continue our struggles,” she said.
The nationwide convoy was held in the run-up to the Bersih 5 rally on November 19 last year in Kuala Lumpur.
Maria said the funds will also go towards run Bersih 2.0’s voter education programme.
“We continue to reach out to the six regions nationwide to educate local voters to understand the impact of re-delineation and electoral fraud.
“We aim to empower voters to hold their candidates accountable. This involves costs for staff and volunteers to travel across the nation,” she said.
Maria then revealed that it costs up to RM35,000 to run the Bersih 2.0 office every month.
“Our office is staffed by six full time staff who works with the steering committee which are made up of volunteers,” she said.
Steering Committee Member Jay Jay Denis also appealed to the public to donate to Bersih 2.0’s cause.
“I think it’s ideal for the people to not lose hope right now. Many have said that they are tired of politics but this is when your time, efforts and hopefully, finances are most important to Bersih 2.0.
“My message goes out to the people, that if you can’t provide a large amount, RM10 is good enough.
“And if you can’t donate, at least register to vote because it’s the most valuable thing at the end of the day,” he said.
The campaign will run until September and Bersih 2.0 has set its target at RM500,000.
Donations can be made out to Bersih 2.0 under the name Bersih & Adil Network Sdn Bhd, on its Maybank account number 512295102931. Those who wished to can also send in their donations to the Maybank branch in Old Town, Petaling Jaya.
Source: The Malay Mail Online