Pepper’s latest letter to his daughter.

Dear Paprika,

This month seems to be protest month in Malaysia. Everyone is talking about taking to the streets to show their dissatisfaction. Auntie Azira told me, “See you at BERSIH 4!” but I am not too sure about joining the protest this time around.

I think BERSIH has derailed from its original focus. Worse, I feel bad writing this letter criticising them because I happen to know a few members of BERSIH’s steering committee.


BERSIH was started as a coalition of NGOs demanding for electoral reforms. They felt that the elections in our country are rigged — always favouring the ruling government. And why wouldn’t they feel that way? In the last elections (GE13), the Opposition won the popular vote, but still lost the general elections. Despite winning more than half the votes, the Opposition only won 82 parliamentary seats while the ruling party won 140 seats!

For BERSIH 4, there is only 1 chief demand —for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s immediate resignation.

When I first read that, I was surprised. They were not calling for electoral reforms, but for the removal of the Prime Minister. Well, to be fair, they did tag their original 10 demands about electoral reforms to the bottom of their media statement.

They feel they have proof that the Prime Minister is corrupt and has abused his powers. So, BERSIH is organising a massive demonstration on the last weekend of August 2015 to force him to step down.

I feel that is wrong. BERSIH was set up to fight electoral fraud, not corruption outside elections or other issues unrelated to electoral reforms. Now it is using its good name to do just that.

I think if BERSIH feels strongly about removing the Prime Minister, they should join a coalition and play a supporting role instead of leading it.

Think of it this way. Imagine the APOSL science club leading the charge to remove the Prime Minister. All these years that APOSL has been in existence, it has only championed science and the education of science. Sure, we have members who are also involved in other activities but when they come to the monthly APOSL meetings, they only ever talk about science.

Suddenly, there is talk among APOSL members about regime change. They want to use the science club to call for the Prime Minister’s resignation. Don’t you think people will say it is weird that a science club is now using its platform for politics?

Dear Paprika, that is how I feel about BERSIH’s call for BERSIH 4. It feels weird. I want a clean government that is focused on building the nation. I certainly do not want a corrupt government. Nevertheless, it is improper for BERSIH to lead the call for regime change.

You do not have to just go with the flow and follow the crowd. Think for yourself carefully before jumping onto the bandwagon.

Your loving father,


Pepper is the father of two adorable children named Paprika Lim and Saffron Lim. "Dear Paprika" is a series of letters written for posterity. When Paprika is 20 years old, he will be 61. He prefers to...

10 replies on “Dear Paprika: I Am Not Too Sure About BERSIH 4”

  1. It's important to fully understand how to write in a formal and informal manner when preparing for exams. The correct way to write both formal and informal letters can be confusing and uncertain when you don't know the rules that employers and other professionals will expect to find in a letter addressed to them.

  2. Hi there, with the 'confirmation' of our sitting Prime Minister that RM 2.6 Billions from donation (it is a laughing stock for the whole entire world). It is outright breaching the election law and thus the whole GE13 is void and null. To ask PM to take leave during investigation is the righteous thing to do. I am surprise you can't see the simple fact. Join force to have a caliber leader to lead us out from current turmoil. Again, do not afraid of changing because not changing this person is definitely wrong. It is time for us to join effort to correct what is wrong. It is evil for good people like us to do nothing. If you have been to Bersih 2 and 3 then you would not written what you have said. Reading from third party source vs your own experience is entirely different. Thanks

    1. You should re-read the article that you cite, variations of the word resignation was mentioned at least 4 times by the committee (step down, leave office, no legitimacy etc. )

  3. Bersih 4.0 did not call for Najib to resign.

    They asked for a proper investigation into the 1MDB case, and to facilitate this, Najib needs to take LEAVE from his posts. They didn't demand for Najib to resign, they simply asked for a fair process in investigation… And Najib to step aside to let this happen.

    You can read it again inside malaysiakini.

  4. Sure, Pepper. Continue to be ultra-righteous and insist that everything must be pristine black or pristine white and there must be nothing in between. If nothing is done to change things now, not even Bersih 4.0, Malaysia will be worse than what Pakistan is now when Paprika is 20 years old.

  5. 5. Bersih wants Najib to step down.

    This Bersih 4 has four demands. Two of these four are related to the 1MDB scandal (“clean governance” and “saving the economy”), but none of it demands for Najib's resignation. At the same time, Bersih has also demanded for “clean elections” and “the right to dissent”

    – See more at:

    Legitimate regime change is reserved for another day at the ballot box at the 14th general election but for now we just want to assemble peacefully to make our dissent known and demand institutional reforms that would prevent another 1MDB on Aug 29 and 30.

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