PETALING JAYA: US President Barack Obama ended Sunday, his first day in the country, with a meeting involving several leaders from Malaysian civil society movements.
Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said the 50-minute meeting, held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Kuala Lumpur, discussed several key national issues such as human rights abuse and electoral reforms.
“It was a relaxing discussion. The President was attentive and listened to our grouses intently,” she said when contacted after the meeting.
Maria said each representative presented their issues as well as their key findings to Obama.
She said Obama expressed his awareness on several issues such as violations of rule of law and religious extremism, pledging to raise them if the opportunity arose.
“I believe he has a better understanding now we have explained our findings on the last General Election through the people’s tribunal,” she added.
Maria said that some 10 individuals attended the meeting including Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor’s (Empower) Honey Tan, Islamic Renaissance Front chairman Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri, Sisters in Islam member Ratna Osman and prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who represented the Malaysian Human Rights Society (Hakam).