Monday, November 12, 2007

BERSIH takes on Mr Clean

Photo from Jinggo's Fotopage

Read the spin in NST and STAR regarding Bersih’s massive Nov 10 rally, and you have a pretty good idea how PM Pak Lah deals with issues: deny, deny, deny. But first you preface your response with threats, threats, threats.

The fact is, dozens of websites, blogs and youtube posts are collectively telling the whole world how underdressed the emperor and his increasingly arrogant party are. Clearly the whole event – relatively incident-free and orderly – was a slap on the face of the coalition dominant partner, particularly its leader who faced down the rally with a “saya pantang cabar” challenge.


KUALA LUMPUR: A crowd of about 4,000 gathered for an illegal march close to Dataran Merdeka yesterday, causing massive traffic jams across the city.

Police had to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstration, organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or Bersih, a grouping of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations.

The crowd converged on Masjid Jamek and the National Mosque to march towards Dataran Merdeka but failed to do so when police cordoned off the area.

"Police had to resort to such actions because the protesters refused to disperse when ordered to do so," Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said.

He said 245 people were arrested and later released after their statements were taken.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, speaking to reporters in Pekan, Pahang, said those involved in the protest had caused difficulties to the people, especially traders and businessmen who had to close their shops and offices.

I say, were mainstream media reporting on some other protests when they put the figure at 4,000? And were these protestors the cause of the lock-down in the city? The truth is, the chaos arose because of police action to keep potential protestors away from the city centre. The use of tear gas and water canons on protestors at Masjid Jamek were totally uncalled for, but the intimidation and aggression on the part of police or FRUs distracted attention away from marchers who were converging at the Istana. While the cops were havimg their fun, thousands upon thousands were waiting for Bersih leaders to hand their petition over to the Agung's representative.

Inthe aftermath of what was probably the largest public demonstration in a decade since the Reformasi outbreak, PM Pak Lah changes his tune, while official numbers turn mysteriously from 4,000 to 10,000:


PENAMPANG: The opposition-led illegal rally to deliver an election reform petition to the palace on Saturday was an attempt to force the Yang di-Pertuan Agong into taking sides, the prime minister said.

"Obviously, the action was tantamount to dragging the institution of the monarchy, and the king, into politics," Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said at a press conference after he opened the Parti Bersatu Sabah 22nd annual congress here.

A memorandum calling for changes to the electoral process was handed by opposition stalwarts Lim Kit Siang of the DAP, Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to an official at the gates of Istana Negara.

The king, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, was away in Terengganu.

The coalition of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations, calling itself Bersih, had organised a rally of some 10,000 people, according to an official police estimate, to march to the palace with the petition. Police had denied the assembly a permit.

"I believe the king is wise and mature and would not fall into their (the opposition's) political trap," Abdullah said.

Meanwhile Information Minister Zam gives his bumbling two sen when interviewed by Al-Jazeera on the phone here. "Protests are illegal because we have elections every 5 yrs - no point having protests –we are not like Myanmar, like other countries," said the erudite Minister. Right.

rakyat is tired. We can't take it anymore. The time for words is over. It's time for "Mr Clean" to act before he is himself taken to the cleaners.

But the big question is, what is the Agung going to do with the petition?

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