Disgusting………..that’s what I can conclude after monitoring the ugly happenings around the city over the Bersih rally from the internet and the minute by minute flow of reports that I get from friends who are at the scene of the rally. Disgusting, because the government has allowed the police absolute freedom to do what they think is legally correct, thus absolving any blame and responsibility should the situation deteriorate into anarchy and complete public disorder. Is this a responsible government that we yearn to have; the slogan blaring government of ‘Rakyat di dahulukan; Pencapaian di utamakan’. That slogan has no relevance now and it is best that it be changed to ‘Rakyat diperbodohkan; Kuasa memerintah dikekalkan’.
What I saw is likened to a state that is under severe emergency rule where people are just being picked up randomly and paraded into caged vehicles. Such a scene is what I regularly view happening in some third world down trodden African states on Al Jazeera TV network. Where these caged people are taken to is unknown, but hopefully they are being fed and kept alive. There wasn’t any looting, burning or killers running amok by Bersih supporters that had been drummed up endlessly by the government, its media and leaders prior to the rally. It was peaceful by all standards and clearly it was a people’s show of unity to demand what is rightfully theirs, that is, free and fair elections.
The ugly situation that Malaysians and the entire world witnessed today, I believe could have been avoided, if parties to this whole episode have placed the nation’s interest first before self. Common sense has to prevail and although the parties may not be able to reach a conclusive understanding or agreement over some dissenting issues, the least is that an effort has been made to get parties to talk and to develop some comforting levels of understanding. Cutting off any attempt at a negotiation between the parties is totally wrong, and this will further incite intolerance, bitterness and hate. This is what happened between the government and all other parties. But who are we to blame? Are the demands by Bersih too difficult to meet? Or is the government by declaring that Bersih is an unlawful organization; hence the Bersih rally is automatically declared an illegal assembly that need no further consideration?
Bersih’s primary agenda and demand is purely for an election reform, which is suspect, flawed and abused to favour the ruling government during an election. Proof of that has been made known to the Election Commission (EC) and the government on several occasions, but was never given a good hearing. It would appear that what is good for the EC is deemed good for the people. The use of the indelible ink that was to be applied during the last GE was somehow withdrawn the very last minute for reasons best known to the EC. The largest democracy in the world i.e. India had used the indelible ink to a great success. Even some down trodden African states had use it, so why can’t we, if indeed we are a practitioner of democracy of the western model? Losing public money for the purchase of the indelible ink and later throwing it away is of no concern. It’s the people’s money anyway; not mine, so why worry. There is no public accountability, no conscience.
Some lessons of this afternoon’s rally have to be learnt by both Bersih and the government’s apparatus. While both parties claim success, the losers as of now are obviously the business concerns, traders and shop owners. The main loser can only be realized in the next few days or months when world opinion begins to be heard and foreign direct investment begins to dwindle, and it will only be then that the full brunt of the government’s folly will be felt.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION