Dear Paprika: I Am Not Too Sure About BERSIH 4

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,


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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 use logic and evidence when presented with seemingly miraculous events. He supports LGBT rights and believes a person’s sexuality is no concern of others. In his spare time, he authored "The Troublesome Prince Lucky Mole"; a best-seller children’s story book. His family lives in beautiful Malaysia, a country rich in natural resources and unlimited potential. He moves with UndiMsia and APOSL. He has plans to make his family proud.

Posted on 7 August 2015. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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