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Tuesday, May 06, 2008
REVIEWS FROM MALAYSIAKINI
|Coffee-table book that charts Bersih's journey|
|S Pathmawathy | May 5, 08 5:19pm|
| If you were unfortunate to have missed the 40,000 mass gathering organised by polls reform movement Bersih in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 10 last year, here is a chance now for you to soak up the events that led to the gathering.|
Bersih has published a 70-page coffee-table book which looks at the memorabilia of events that led to the mass gathering on that eventful Saturday.
More interestingly, the book aims to highlight and expose the flaws inherent in the Malaysian electoral system and details Bersih's demands for democratisation.
The publication is titled 'Selak - Bersih's Journey Towards Clean and Fair Elections' and charts the movement's efforts to push for reform in the country's electoral process with the combination of visually stimulating photographs.
It was launched by prominent blogger and lawyer Harris Ibrahim during the World Press Freedom Day celebrations at the Central Market last Saturday (photo).
The book is currently available at RM60 through online purchase and soon to be shelved in major bookstores nationwide beginning next week.
"We bring to the people a visual presentation of facts with an alternative view point rather than to bombard people with lengthy texts," said Bersih coordinator Faisal Mustaffa.
"We want the people to see the truth and judge for themselves whether it is the truth because pictures speak a thousand words," he said.
A chronological journey
The book takes readers on a chronological journey beginning with the initialization of the Joint Action Committee for Electoral Reform in 2005 which subsequently began to be known as Bersih in 2006.
The compilation lead off with a string of campaigns involving incidents like the Batu Talam by-election where opposition parties boycotted elections to highlight the inconsistencies of the electoral process.
Glossy photographs and visuals follow to show true essence of the events and incidents that took place during various events organised by Bersih and its coalition.
The major highlights of the book looks into the rally organised by Bersih with the support of civil-society groups and opposition political parties on Nov 10, 2007.
The rally which gathered a crowd of almost 40,000 people in locations across the heart of the city was greeted by teargas and chemically laced water cannon fired by the riot police to break up the gathering.
The book is also published to give the masses a gist of Bersih's work and contributions.
The publication is dedicated to "Malaysians who are concerned about clean and fair elections, as well as matters of justice, equality, accountability and integrity".
"It is also a tributeto those who made the Nov 10 Bersih people's gathering a huge success," read the book's introduction.
Pushing for reforms
Malaysian Trades Union Congress president Syed Shahir Mohamud in his foreword said that the book was an important visual document which "demontrates the painstaking process of Malaysians attempting to uphold their rights".
He said that the people's rights were being violated by the Election Commission's inability to conduct clean, fair and free elections.
"It is time to push for reforms more forcefully," he wrote.
Faisal, who also acted as the coordinator for this book project, wrote in his acknowledgement that this pictorial book was "part of our pursuit of a trully democratic Malaysia".
The book identified itself as a "visual representation of the significant events that took place during Bersih's campaign for electoral reforms since its inception in 2005".