by Beh Sai Kong
Dear brave friends,
Malaysians as a whole are fair-minded people. Our penchant for neutrality is admirable. We do whatever we can to preserve and promote the virtue of neutrality and have repeatedly shown that we were prepared to do battle with whomever or whatever to prove our sense of neutrality.
But as with many other virtues, we can be neutral to a fault. There is a time and place for any virtue which ordinarily should be upheld and welcome for the good that it brings to a given situation. But a virtue that is invoked and deployed under certain circumstances may cease to be virtuous and can become a fault instead.
As an ardent supporter of BERSIH 1.0, BERSIH 2.0 and now, BERSIH 3.0, I wish to say that BERSIH as a brand name is presently walking into a trap that is not surpising but nevertheless fatal.
Good people can and sometimes do paint themselves into a corner in much the same way as some participants of BERSIH 2.0 found themselves cornered by the riot squard where to escape the optimum effect of tear gas they had to try to make a dash for open space.
The time for neutrality rightly was sincerely employed and offered by BERSIH in its 2.0 edition. Both sides of the parliamentary divide were invited. One side accepted, fully participated in BERSIH 2.0 and even provided its own trained and disciplined personnel to keep the peace; the other side not only spurned the sincere invitation but threw all the forces it could muster to stop, wreck and yes, neutralise the impact of BERSIH 2.0. In a sense, the latter acted “honorably “ in that while it was at that time conceiving and getting its plan to compromise the integrity of the electoral roll, it acted the part by opposing BERSIH 2.0 tooth and nail. That much credit I must give them . They didn’t believe in the cause of BERSIH 2.0 and they comprehensively fought it.
There is a time gap between BERSIH 2.0 (held on 9 July 2011) and the coming BERSIH 3.0 (to be held on 28 April 2012). During the intervening period, we Malaysians have learned, again not surprisingly, that the electoral roll has been alarmingly skewered to favour one side of the parliamentary divide as to seriously prejudiced the chances of the other side in the forthcoming electoral war.
That is the very reason why BERSIH has rightly called for all fair-minded and concerned Malaysians to a sit-down demonstration in its 3.0 edition.
Now, dear brave and righteous BERSIH (no irony or sarcasm intended), please let us ask ourselves that if indeed the electoral roll has been gravely compromised and the very conduct of the forthcoming general elections itself may be seriously and rightly questioned for this and other reasons, WHICH SIDE of the parliamentary divide is RESPONSIBLE?
Make no mistake, only ONE side of the parliamentary divide can be responsible for such a dastardly act for the very simple reason that the other side is as much powerless to commit such an act as it would be foolish of them to do so for very obvious reasons.
So, to invite both sides of the parliamentary divide to come for BERSIH 3.0 is like inviting, if I may say so, Robert Mugabe and Hosni Mubarak or Kim Jong-un to bersih-like demonstrations in their own respective countries.
When I sit down at BERSIH 3.0 with my concerned country men, women and children, I don’t want to be sitting beside anyone who is in any way involved or supportive of the mass fraudulence perpetrated and perpetuated by the powers that be within a hundred miles of my battered and cheated self.
The time for neutrality is past. In this day and time, a neutral stance applied to the Malaysian political scene by us fair-minded, good-hearted civil society community is to pour oil onto the side of the parliamentary divide that is the poor relation of the powerful, unscrupulous, unashamed and unrelenting stop-at-nothing, victory-at-any-cost side.
The last thing that our nation of suppressed and oppressed country men and women need since 1957 and 1963 is for our civil society pious sense of neutrality to give room for the wrong side to do even more harm.
We must not just keep our electoral roll and the conduct of our general elections BERSIH; we must KEEP BERSIH 3.0, BERSIH!