Veteran activist Ambiga Sreenevasan has defended outgoing Bersih chief Maria Chin Abdullah’s move to join politics.
Ambiga said it was not unusual for members of civil society to take their struggle to Parliament or to even form their own political parties.
“For me, it is a chance to get your voice directly heard in Parliament, where you can influence the way legislation is crafted. Let me put it this way: It is a different platform to advocate for the same reform.
“Maria will not be involved with partisan politics but solely with an agenda for reform. It is always a difficult decision and we are grateful that Maria has agreed to run,” the Hakam chief said in a statement today.
She was responding to criticism of Maria’s move to run in the 14th general elections as an independent candidate under Pakatan Harapan.
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported former Sungai Benut MP Tawfik Ismail as saying the move proved BN’s point that Bersih had been hijacked by the opposition.
Ambiga said once Maria is given a chance to explain her decision, the people would understand the strategy behind it and support it.
Maria is expected to hold a press conference on the matter on Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Ambiga, who had also once helmed Bersih, said the movement has never been about individuals.
“It is of the rakyat, for the rakyat and by the rakyat. The strength of Bersih is that it will continue to grow no matter who is in charge.
“That is a result of a strong, transparent, honest and efficient system that is in place at Bersih, something that Maria and the committee can be proud of.
“People may come and go, but I have no doubt that Bersih will survive and carry on,” she said.