Penang Monthly editor Ooi Kee Beng talks to Bersih icon Ambiga Sreenevasan between sessions at the inaugural Asean Coalition for Clean Governance conference on civil society and why she thinks “Malaysians are a great people”.
Ooi Kee Beng: Let’s discuss the recent rise of civil society activism in Malaysia. We had a half-year of rallies in mid-2007, starting with 600 people from the Malaysian Trades Union Congress demonstrating outside the Prime Minister’s office against government refusal to initiate minimum wage legislation. Several union demonstrations were held in the following weeks. Soon after the country became 50 years old on August 31 that year, the big rallies really began. It started with the Malaysian Bar Council, of which you were the president then, organising the so-called Walk for Justice on September 26. About 2,000 people took part.
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