Malaysia’s Bersih movement shows social media can mobilise the masses

Source: The Conversation

The Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street are not the only media-driven civic movements that have advocated for social or political reform.

In Malaysia a civic movement called the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections – better known by its Malay name “Bersih”, which means clean – has enabled people to express their political dissatisfaction and long accumulated frustration via social media.

Malaysian politics is widely regarded as contentious. Since Malaysia’s independence in 1957, the current ruling coalition has been in power.

One of the key factors to such uninterrupted ruling by one party is the widely regarded “unbalanced” electoral processes. For years, the democracy has suffered from entrenched advantages enjoyed by the ruling party and the gerrymandered constituencies.

In 2007 Malaysians took to the street to call for a reform of Malaysia’s electoral processes. Subsequently, three massive rallies took place in 2010, 2012 and 2015.

Thanks to the diffusion effect of social media, the size of rallies has grown from 30,000 in 2007 to 200,000 in 2015. More than 70 Facebook groups have been created, plus blogs, and YouTube, Whatsapp were used frequently. Read more

Reclamation damaging Penang

Source: NST Online

Coastal reclamation at Persiaran Gurney in Penang. NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

Coastal reclamation at Persiaran Gurney in Penang. NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

GEORGE TOWN: Penang, the Pearl of the Orient, is sitting on a ticking time bomb.

Coastal reclamation will worsen the island state’s seascape, a marine environment expert has warned.

Dr Zulfigar Yasin, a Universiti Sains Malaysia marine biology professor, said the state’s environment was heading for uncharted waters. He said coastal reclamation would come back to bite the island famed for its tourist spots. Coastal reclamations are going full swing at Gurney Drive and the Queensbay area opposite Pulau Jerejak.

A massive reclamation, which will see the creation of three man-made islands, has been proposed in the southern part of the island to fund the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan. Read more