Following the Bersih rally on the 9 July, 2011, a group of young Malaysians have now come forward to continue calling for free and fair elections, calling themselves ‘Generation 709’.
The Convener of Generation 709, Lee Khai Loon, wrote in Malaysia Today that:
709 is the collective memory of people of all races united in making history in Malaysia. Generation 709 is a platform of youth concerned with politics, civil rights and good governance. We have converged after the historic walk of Jul 9, for a common goal: building our democracy.
We are an independent, principled, critical platform. We do not belong to any political organisation, do not have any financial resources, but have only a heart for the idealism. We believe that democracy does not fall from the sky, that it takes a journey of many steps to materialise. As the generation of social change, we have the responsibility and duty to be at the forefront.
We believe in the power from the united youth of all races, which will empower even more youth to participate in social works and defend their rights. It will bring a new perspective to the rakyat, to struggle together for a democratic Malaysia.
He also wrote that they have three objectives:
(1) Solidarity and support for all political detainees from Bersih 2.0 Rally and victims of police brutality, including calling for immediate release of six social leaders detained under Emergency Ordinance;
(2) Encourage more young people to join the democratic reform, civil liberties and good governance through holding peaceful assembly, press conference, forum and innovative activities;
(3) Reach out to more young people with information through active use of social media.
Geronimo, writing from America, feels the change that is happening:
This generation has never seen unity until 709. In the years to come, this generation will look back and tell its children that this is how it went down. This is what gave us hope, determination and strength.
Never in our lives have we ever seen a Malaysia like this before. What does it take to finally put the ghost of May 13 (1969) to rest forever? The answer lies in the events of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally. This generation is not afraid anymore. This generation looks forward to a future of unity and strength.
Bryan Khoo, who participated in the rally, feels the same way:
I never regret for joining this rally as I am convinced that Malaysia is still a very good place for me and my future generation. I strongly believe Malaysia is still a lovely country and hope that more friends can stand up together to create a better future for our next generation.
The group has been very active on social media, with their latest effort being ‘Kempen Balik Bersih Kampung’ (Back to Hometown Cleaning Up Campaign), an outreach program to rural areas urging Malaysians to go back to their hometowns to spread the word of the call to have more democracy and justice in the country. Among their claims are that Malaysia needs a two-party system, the judiciary needs to be reformed and that young Malaysians who are eligible to vote should register themselves quickly in order to have a say in politics.
On Facebook, they have already garnered more than 3000 Likes, although on Twitter that number is only almost 300.
Following that, a group of Malaysians living in America have also created a Generation 709 there, calling themselves ‘Generation 709 in the United States’.
Xandeloras also posted photos and videos of the Bersih rally.