Police in grip of Bersih hysteria

By Terence Netto
Jun 27, 11 | MalaysiaKini

COMMENT It’s now quite clear that the Bersih 2.0 march planned for July 9 is not such a threat to public order and security as the fret and fever the government has generated over the whole affair.
It has driven elements of our security establishment nuts.

How else to explain the arrests of 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists in Penang late Saturday, apparently under section 122 of the Penal Code which arraigns rebellion against the king?

That the likes of the professorial Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim, the PSM chair, the affably rotund S Arutchelvam, party secretary-general, and the mild-mannered Dr D Jeyakumar, their sole MP in Sungai Siput, are capable of plotting something as bizarre as rebellion against the king – as well believe that Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali has all along been an agent of PAS.

The band of diehard socialists that drive the PSM, small in number and serene in conviction, is very much like the above named trio of its leaders: the most lethal weapon they could plausibly wield to assault anybody is a poster of Che Guevara.

The news that a posse of PSM activists were intercepted by police while they were on a campaign swing up north and were hauled to police stations in Butterworth and Kepala Batas to be arraigned for plots as earthshaking as rebellion against the king is about as credible as the recent prediction of the end of the world by a religious sect.

PSM a menace to national security?

Sure, Penang deputy chief police officer Abdul Rahim Jaafar changed tack somewhat when he claimed that the arrested PSM bunch were in possession of printed materials which showed they were intent on reviving communist ideology.

Strictly speaking, the espousal of communist ideology is not an offence in itself. However, militancy in its expression would qualify as a detainable offence under the terms of the Internal Security Act 1960.

Nowadays, holdouts for communist ideology are regarded as on a level with proponents of flat earth theory: otherworldly rubes who are a little quaint, but not terribly dangerous.

If sympathy for communist ideology can be considered an offence, especially in these times, some people of stellar standing in this country would be indictable.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad once pronounced the fall of the communist bloc a “catastrophe” for emerging countries because the pre-1989 bipolar world enabled nations like Malaysia some space for independent strutting on the world’s stage.

Both Mahathir and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin have been known to have met up with former Communist Party of Malaya stalwarts, like the late Rashid Maidin, to chat with them, not, presumably, out of sympathy for their ideology; more likely, it was curiosity about their ability to endure adversity.

For BN, power is a permanent possession

The problem with the rhetorical inflation that has led the cops in Penang to attempting to turn a small band of socialist diehards into a menace to national security is that the reaction is the result of a mind-set that regards the state in a proprietary manner.

Overheated talk like ‘Putrajaya must be defended at all costs’ and ‘The opposition is using the Bersih march to topple the government’ reflects this attitude that power is not a trust but a permanent possession.

Opposing aspirants for the same power are regarded as interlopers that must be repelled at all costs. It is a view peculiar to hegemons and dictators.

Ironically, the slogan the PSM activists were touting in their campaign – ‘Enough is enough! Retire BN!’ – goes to the heart of the problem: Umno-BN’s prolonged incumbency has a reached a point where their retirement is imperative for salvaging the country.

If Umno-BN were to opt for levity in their response rather than humourless gravity and rhetorical flatulence, their reaction would be: “What retire! So you can introduce your antiquated ideology. You must be kidding.”

But the clumsy apparatchiks of state power would much prefer a reflexive response to an original idea most times. For them, it’s easier to use a sledgehammer than a scalpel.

In the meantime, Bersih 2.0 waxes on the waves of clumsy reaction.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 12:35 pm


    Utusan Malaysia claims that Bersih is being funded by foreign Christian organisations as the Konrad Adenauer Foundation from Germany that have donated millions of ringgit to underwrite the rally planned for July 9.
    So Bersih is using funds from the Nazis to build gas chambers here to annihilate 6 million Malaysians. That is why the umno tuans are so afraid— they might be on the gas chamber queue.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 1:33 pm

    ///It has driven elements of our security establishment nuts.///

    I don’t know about that. Security apparachiks are probably directed to deploy their powers to stop Bersih 2.0 at all costs. ( The Powers-That-be are worried that the PR defacto head would, in light of his legal predicament, use Bersih 2.0 to galvanise a broad civil disobedience Reformasi style street protests ala Tahir square/Libyan style and are determined to crack down on the March).

    At the same time they’re worried of image and investments (esp in light of the warming diplomatic/economic relations with Obama’s administration) being fractured, as would be the risk posed if a broad dragnet ala Operation Lallang swoop is immediately precipitated. So the crackdown as to be graduated – step by step – in the hope that the first arrests of 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists will evince the authorities’ will to take action and constitute an effective deterrent and threat to the organisers and supporters to give up the enterprise before its due date on the 9th next month.

  3. #3 by DAP man on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 1:38 pm

    So what do we have here:
    1. A Hindu woman who is anti-Malays and anti-Islam.
    2. PSM propagating Communism and overthrow the King.
    3. Christians funding the Bersih Rally.

    Next it will be aliens from some planet wanting to take over the country.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 1:56 pm

    PSM activists are convenient ‘guinea pigs’ for this “graduated” tightening of the screws. For one thing their socialist ideology is convenient bogeyman when one skews and links it with Communism in a milieu where no one (but academics) really know the difference between the two!

    The other thing is the invoking of Communism enables the investigation to be based on section 122 of Penal Code by which gravity of the offence allows a longer remand peiod of 14 days, that is exactly sufficient to cover the date of their arrest to the date of proposed march on 9th July thus affording sufficient time of their remand/detention to work its deterrent value in the interim period to deter the others supporting the march (but not yet arrested) from pursuing the enterprise!

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 1:58 pm

    Besides the leader of 30 arrested (Dr Michael Jayakumar) is PKR’s MP, and earlier Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin harrassed is PKR Youth’s chief. Somewhere there’s a message pointed at Anwar as if to say, “we know what you’re up to”.

    Of course it will be hard to make the charge stick on the PSM members even by a not so independent court. Nor is it meant to stick. Who cares for Communism? Even no. 1 Communist Chin Peng has abandoned his cause to express his desire to return, a lost cause and shadow of Cold War Era, after the Soviet Union had dismantled and the other China, Vietnam and Cambodia go more and more towards market (read capitalist economy).

    What’s important is the equation Socialism = Communism= Arm violence= section 122 Penal Code= 14 day remand= sufficent time for deterrent effect to thwart Bersih’s protestors so that the face off or show down, bad for all, may be thwarted, if possible. Far from “nuts” its a calculated strategy by the authorities.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 2:26 pm

    Mayb polis want d 30 PSM activists 2 do mass nude squat together
    1-2-take off your clothes, 1-2-down, 1-2-up, goodie goodie, 1-2-down, 1-2-up

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 3:32 pm

    On Utusan report on Christians funding Bersih – ITS DISGUSTINGLY LAZY – they are now not even trying very hard when they lie. Its gross to be so lazy…

  8. #8 by voice2009 on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 7:41 pm

    Middle East no retreat even death to overthrow their corrupted government administrator

    What about Malaysia?

    Are Malaysian chicken out fear of arrest?

    Are Malaysia Tak boleh?

    I think few years ago before Middle East spring of anti-corrupted government happen now there, the Middle East looked you up Malaysians the first Bersih….Malaysia Boleh

    Now, are Malaysia Boleh or tak Boleh?

    BERSIH 2 demand fair, transparent, anti-corrupted election

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 7:55 pm

    You boleh saya pun boleh.Sama sama jom mali bersih sama dia olang.

  10. #10 by DAP man on Monday, 27 June 2011 - 7:59 pm

    Penang deputy chief police officer Abdul Rahim Jaafar is a clairvoyant. Even without investigations he knows what they are up to.
    He is the best police officer this country has ever had. He has bomoh-like qualities.
    I recommend him for the post of IGP. UMNO needs him.

  11. #11 by k1980 on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 - 7:26 am

    // do mass nude squat together
    1-2-take off your clothes, 1-2-down, 1-2-up, goodie goodie, 1-2-down, 1-2-up//

    That was how the dna got into saifool’s back hole!

  12. #12 by k1980 on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 - 8:17 am

    From malaysichronilce—

    In a move that will put the global spotlight on Malaysia and prevent Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government from using unsavory means to thwart citizens, civil rights group Bersih announced that overseas rallies will be held simultaneously with its upcoming July 9 Walk for Democracy in Kuala Lumpur.

    Bersih said the overseas demonstrations were initiated by Malaysians who lived abroad, who supported the demands and objectives of the Bersih 2.0 rally. The solidarity rallies will be held in Seoul, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

    “We regard this wide interest by the Malaysian diaspora as an indication that Malaysians from all walks of life believe in the need for electoral reform and the upholding of democracy,” the Bersih organising committee said in a statement out on Thursday.

    “Malaysian citizens living abroad should rise to the occasion and demand for their right to vote via postal ballot in the upcoming 13th General Election.”

    Date: 9 July 2011 Time: 3pm Venue: Malaysian High Commission, 4-1 Hannam-dong, 140-210, Seoul

    Date: 9 July 2011 Time: 12.00pm Venue: Malaysian Consulate in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney (simultaneous)

    Date: 9 July 2011 Time: 3.00pm Venue: Tower of the Sun, Osaka

    Date: 9 July 2011 Time: 10.00am Venue: Consulate General of Malaysia,550 South Hope Street,Suite 400, Los Angeles

    Date: 9 July 2011 Time: 9.30am Venue: Chrissy Field Picnic Area, Presidio, San Francisco

    Date: 9 July 2011 Time: 10.00am Venue: Consulate General of Malaysia, 313 East 43rd Street, New York

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 - 10:08 am

    No problemo, Perkosa, UmnoB, n PDRM will n in Seoul, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka, Los Angeles, San Francisco n New York too, sama sama demonstrate 1

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 - 10:13 am

    Yeah, all Perkosa & UmnoB sleepers in Seoul, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka, Los Angeles, San Francisco n New York will be alerted n activated – eeeeeeeh on 9.7.11

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