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What’s Bersih’s Agenda Insisting Protests On Eve of National Day?

By 25 Ogos 2015Tiada komen3 minit bacaan

 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25  — Just what is Bersih really up to by insisting on staging street protests in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching on the eve of the National Day celebration on Aug 31?

Is the formation of Bersih, a coalition of non-governmental organisations seeking to reform Malaysia’s electoral system to ensure what it deems as free, clean and fair elections, premised on planting the alien culture of street protests?

By timing the protests in the run-up to Malaysia’s birthday, it’s obvious to everyone that the aim is to disrupt preparations for the celebration, and despite attempts by many to dissuade Bersih from going ahead with the rallies, all indications are that it is adamant to proceed.

The police are very concerned about public safety and, as in any street protest, things could easily go out of control even with the slightest provocation.

And, in such a situation, it’s a field day for agent provocateurs to create havoc.

Prominent social activist Dr Chandra Muzaffar is naturally very concerned about it, too.

“My fear is that there are individuals and groups waiting to exploit the planned protests to deliberately create chaos and violence,” he said.

Dr Chandra said that though street protests were legal and legitimate and protected by citizens’ right to assemble peacefully under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, he still had the nagging fear of chaos and violence which could lead to an emergency being declared.

If Bersih confined its rally to only Kuala Lumpur on three previous occasions, in 2007, 2011 and 2012, this time around its plans to extend the demonstrations to the state capitals of Sabah and Sarawak only show that it couldn’t care less about peace and public safety in the two states as well.

If Bersih’s obsession for holding street protests can be likened to having a meal, it had not only had one helping but three and is now wanting a fourth via the so-called Bersih 4.0 this weekend.

Dr Chandra has every reason to fear violence and chaos because the Yayasan 1Malaysia chairman had just had his idea of declaring Kuching the world’s first City of Unity become a reality on Aug 1.

Bersih’s assurance of peaceful protests is easier said than done because if things get out of hand, the organisers would be helpless to do anything about it.

It cannot even prevent the protesters from bringing their small kids to these rallies, as seen in the past. What more can one say about such irresponsible acts.

“This is alien to our political culture. Street demonstrations do not solve problems and, what more, they are aimed at interfering with the democratic process of the country,” said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

“They are aimed at inciting the people into rebelling. This is not our practice; the country’s democratic process enables the people to choose any political party as the ruling party, apart from being free to express anti-government views,” he added.

This time around, Bersih 4.0 will be carried out with the objective of seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and calling for clean governance.

Any change of government or leader in this country is done via the ballot box instead of trying to ape events like the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt, Libya or Tunisia or violent massive Bangkok-style demonstrations that lasted weeks on end.

Political activities in Malaysia should be carried out in a gentlemanly manner despite it being probably the world’s most highly politicised country.

It is time for the country to have a political on-season and off-season so that people can get on with their work or business without worrying about street protests or over-politicking.

And with the next general election only a little over two years away, politicians and politically-inclined NGOs like Bersih should lead the way forward.

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