Archive for April 29th, 2012

Bersih 428: A personal perspective

— Dr. Goh Chee Leong
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — I am proud to say that I was at Bersih 3.0 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, along with my wife and other family members.

In the face of the media blitz from the Barisan Nasional press and blogs, I feel that as a first hand observer I need to make the following comments and observations:

Whose interest did the violence serve?

Let’s be clear. Think about the public relations side of things and you can conclude that it was in the “political interest” of BN to engineer the violence that occurred at the end of the rally. They knew that the organisers would not be able to control the angry crowds once it was sent helter-skelter by the tear gas and water-cannons — one of the reasons why it did not allow us to use the Dataran Merdeka, which would have been easier to control.

Look at the events in Penang where we were allowed to assemble in a single large open space. No problem at all because crowd control is much easier there. BN was afraid if we could demonstrate that a movement like Bersih can be peaceful, this will destroy their “fear message” to scare the middle classes to vote BN. Read the rest of this entry »


My Bersih 3.0 experience: Behind the barbed-wire barricades

— Marina Mahathir
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — It was the barbed wire that did it for me. Up til Friday afternoon I was still unsure about going. My hubby thought I’d already made my point last year. I was annoyed with continually being asked whether I was going or not, more so with the non-story that came out in M’kini which basically said I hadn’t decided yet. I mean, does it matter?

Then I saw the photos of the police rolling out the barbed wire and I saw red. Since when did our police, or whoever is their boss, roll out barbed wire — barbed wire!! — against their own people?? Are we thugs? Terrorists? Thieves?

So I decided to go. I contacted friends and found out their plans on how to get round the roads which were sure to be blocked and the LRT which may be stopped. The same friend who so kindly offered to be my ‘bodyguard’ last year offered himself again. We got into my car, went to collect some other friends and drove to as close to Central Market as we could. Read the rest of this entry »


Was it worth it?

— Tan Zhong Yan
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — I was there together with my dad and his friends. We entered Kuala Lumpur the night before the historical day and stayed in a hotel somewhere in Pudu as we were afraid we might not be able to get in into Kuala Lumpur on the day itself.

The next morning, April 28, we went to have breakfast in one of the coffee shops nearby. From there, everything started. It looked like most of the people having breakfast in that coffee shop were going for the sit-in demonstration, just like us.

We started to greet one another, chatting and taking photos like we knew each other. After that, from Pudu, we headed for Jalan Sultan and then towards Dataran Merdeka. The crowd got bigger and bigger as we walked. Slogans were chanted, but not in a tense manner, as slogans were always followed by laughter.

Many of my friends asked why I wanted to go and “waste” my time there, as I’ll be having my exams in less than two weeks’ time, and the fact that the government might not even care and listen to us. There is also a great risk that I might be arrested or fired upon with tear gas and water cannons. Read the rest of this entry »


DAP call for Suhakam public inquiry into indiscriminate firing of police tear gas sparking chain of violence marring Bersih 3.0

Yesterday, I had harboured the thought and hope that Malaysia was maturing as a democracy and can equal that of developed countries, with Kuala Lumpur comparable to London and New York, where peaceful assemblies and gatherings involving thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people, could be held with the full understanding and even co-operation of the police authorities.

This thought came to me when on the way from the Masjid Negara meeting point towards Dataran Merdeka, together with other Pakatan Rakyat leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Datuk Seri Awang Hadi and Mat Sabu, we saw a veritable celebration not only of Malaysian democracy but Malaysian nationhood – with Malaysians transcending race, religion, politics, age or gender, coming together in a common universal cause for clean, free and fair elections for a clean Malaysia.

But this thought and hope that the Bersih 3.0 “sit-in” will be an international badge of honour of a maturing Malaysian democracy proved ephemeral as it was pulverized very shortly after in the disproportionate and indiscriminate firing of police tear gas at peaceful protestors for free and fair elections massed outside Dataran Merdeka.

Clearly, the breach of the Dataran Merdeka barricade, for which commensurate action could be taken, is no justification for the release of the violent events, like the disproportionate and indiscriminate firing of police tear gas, the police mass arrests and attacks on peaceful protestors including those who had dispersed and were on their way home, the “heavy-handed” attack and targeting of journalists as well as incidents where police personnel were targets of attacks. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 3.0 in Hong Kong

by Anita Anandarajah
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — Tagged “Hong Kong 3.0 Edition”, the Bersih rally here was an exercise in contrasts.

I would not have dared to venture anywhere near Dataran Merdeka had I been home. But there I was with my four-month-old in her baby carrier in the heart of Causeway Bay, Hong Kong’s busy shopping district, an area I would usually avoid because of its thronging crowds.

Why did I decide to go? Because I needed to be a part of the movement that might see my Malaysia come to a turning point. I wanted to experience a civil protest, one where I would not have to fear for my life.

There must have been about 500 supporters gathered in front of the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay at 2pm. Banners and placards calling for clean and fair elections drew the attention of tourists who took the opportunity to have photos taken with the yellow-shirted supporters. Read the rest of this entry »


Police response during BERSIH 3.0 rally disproportionate and excessive – Malaysian Bar

Christopher Leong
Malaysian Bar
29 April 2012

The Malaysian Bar is appalled at the abuse of the legal process and grotesque use of force by the police in connection with the BERSIH 3.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, 28 April 2012.

The crowds that had gathered for the BERSIH 3.0 rally reflected a broad cross-section of Malaysian society, and were peaceful. The police were initially restrained, although they did try to stop people from reaching various pre-announced meeting points. However, the attitude of the police underwent a sea-change at 3:00 pm that day. The reported breach of police barricades in some areas does not justify the police unleashing the full force of their arsenal upon crowds that were peaceful. The police have shown in this incident that they do not have the maturity, discipline and restraint required of a professional force. In this regard the Malaysian Bar strongly disagrees with the Minister of Home Affairs’ assertion that the police acted professionally. Read the rest of this entry »


My Bersih 3.0 experience: The day the police became hooligans

— Christina Foo
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — Dear Editor,

This is the first time I am writing to you because I feel that it is very important for me to give my first-hand experience of the PDRM insanity.

I am in my early 50s and have always been a model citizen. I have never taken part in any previous rally or demonstration. However this year I decided that I needed to support Bersih by being there where it counts.

My friend Lean Bee and I drove from Petaling Jaya into the city but was blocked off at Syed Putra so we decided to drive back to Asia Jaya, parked the car there and took the LRT. The train when it arrived was packed to the brim. That was a good sign that a lot of people were coming. Had expected to be stopped by police at the stations but there were no signs of them. As such we got into the city without any other challenges.

My first question for the PDRM is:

Why block most of the roads if you are still going to let us into the city any way?

Did you ever think about the tourists who needed to get in and out of the city upon arrival and for their departure? Read the rest of this entry »


The real Bersih 3.0

— Gomen Man
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — A word of caution to the people who run Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider: there is an operation by paid hacks to flood your portals with seemingly “constructive” opinions about Bersih 3.0 and how this event was hijacked by Anwar Ibrahim, blah blah.

Some will even write how Malaysia’s democracy is truly alive and how Barisan Nasional is not the enemy.

Let us get some facts straight. More than 100,000 Malaysians from all walks of life turned out yesterday to call for free and fair elections. Old, young, rich, poor, the works.

Among them were supporters of political parties, and within this group were those who were probably itching for some action. The large majority of Malaysians dispersed and were shocked when tear gas canisters were aimed at them without any provocation.

Was this the strategy of hidden hands? Read the rest of this entry »


Liberation Day @ 428

— CL Tang
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — Malaysians who participated in yesterday’s Bersih 3.0 saw firsthand, just how superficial and farcical are the BN’s government claims of reforms to make Malaysia the best democracy in the world.

That the so-called best democracy can deny the hundred thousand strong the right to peaceful assemble at Independence Square.

That the so-called best democracy would rather employ thousands of police to surround an EMPTY square, on the whim of an UNELECTED junior official, trampling over the wishes of thousands of Malaysians.

That the so-called best democracy fired tear gas canister after tear gas canister into a crowd that was ALREADY dispersing after a largely peaceful protest. My friends and I were boxed into a car park with nowhere to go, and as the air filled with the acrid smoke and breathing became difficult, I wondered if this was the wind of change that our PM is espousing.

So much for BN’s Peaceful Assembly Act.

Today, the mainstream media has already begun the complete whitewash of the biggest national event this year. By focusing their blatant biased reporting on isolated cases of admittedly over-zealous acts, they fail to showcase the true 1 Malaysia in action, where the young and the old from all races walked hand in hand, where we began the march as total strangers but ended the walk as brothers and sisters united in a noble cause.

So much for BN’s Printing Presses and Publications Act reforms. Read the rest of this entry »


Arrogance breeds contempt

blog: a man called Nobody
Sunday April 29, 2012

I was going to go about my day as usual today. I wanted to carry out my usual weekend errands. I had some work to get done and wanted to just soak the Saturday in like most normal folk. I wanted to have a normal Saturday filled with as little activity as possible. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen.

I was going about my day as I had planned it. Like normal dudes, I needed to take my car out to run my errands. I ran into traffic jams and unusual congestion along most roads near the Kuala Lumpur vicinity. I got into twitter and realised that the morons we have for a government had closed all roads leading into the city. Meaning they had shut down Kuala Lumpur. Meaning they had learnt nothing from the two previous editions of Bersih. They had still not learnt that people have a constitutional right to voice their opinions. How daft do you have to be to repeat the same mistake thrice?

As I had lunch, I was feeling very uneasy. I decided then that I’m definitely going for Bersih in downtown Kuala Lumpur. While others had decided weeks ago or at the very latest the day before, I decided that I was going one hour before the official march time. I hopped onto the LRT at 1pm and got into Kuala Lumpur without too many problems. Once in there I marched in camaraderie with my fellow Malaysian brothers and sisters. I went because I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I hadn’t, knowing how the government was reacting to the thought of people expressively voicing their opinions. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 3.0 Perth

— Soon Yee Yap
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — It was amazing that despite advertising the event would commence at 2pm at Langley Park, some of our marshals who arrived early to set up saw a small crowd in yellow already at the park at 12.30pm. This was the one time when Malaysian timing did not apply.

When more of the organising team arrived at 1pm thinking that it was early enough to help with the set up and then mingle with people as they turned up, but were shocked that about a hundred were already there to greet them instead. Many sought out Jason Tong and Chom Lee, who handled the Perth Edition Bersih 3.0 T-shirts. The few left were snapped up in no time, leaving many without this limited-edition souvenir. Some made do with Stop Lynas tees which were sold as back-ups.

Topping the previous rally on July 9, 2011 of about 200, there were a little more than 500 this time around at the Swan River foreshore gathering point of Langley Park. It was a carnival-like atmosphere with young ones running around the open space, an older lady in a wheelchair listening to the chants, some taking pictures with the mascot dog, Oppa.

It was a mixed crowd of students, young families and couples, more mature long-time residents, recent migrants and some Australians. Jordan Sugunasingam was the master of ceremony and the crowd got into the mood with a guitar- and drum-led Bersih anthem adapted from the old favourite “Chan Mali Chan”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our democracy is working

— Darren Nah
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — There were fears that the Bersih rally would not go according to plan. Soon enough, tear gas and water cannons had beaten back the tide of yellow in the nation’s capital. Many, emotionally restive, came back from yet another Bersih rally which seemed ineffectual in holding Putrajaya accountable. As Datuk Ambiga, under the sweltering Saturday sun, failed to call for crowd dispersal, the governmental security apparatus quickly finished off the crowd of peaceful protestors, using less than savoury means.

Nevertheless, the lessons we can take from this gathering are that, amid the slander and libel floating in the air, our democracy is working. We are beginning to see a maturation of the democratic process, the incipient emergence of political awareness, and the competition of ideas. These are all crucial for the proper functioning of the Malaysian project started in 1957. But some argue that such rallies only cause disturbance, hamper stability, and create undue unrest. Let us now comfort this contentious group.

These people fail to realise that the democratic process needs the occasional take-to-the-street protest and the joyous participation of youth. Ever since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Malaysia’s economy has suffered from a lack of innovation, and many of the young have fled to better prospects abroad. The political indifference of the young and the lack of ideas in governing has hampered our democracy. We need a jolt of innovation.

The Bersih rally must be seen as a channel of new ideas of government and economic progress. While the calls for free and fair elections are sacrosanct in any functioning democracy, let us peel back the false accusations and emotionally charged lies, and look at what the concept of free and fair elections actually means. Read the rest of this entry »


Why I had to be there on 28.4.2012

— Daniel S. Abishegam
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — I was there. Together with my fiancé, and a couple of friends, I made my way to Kuala Lumpur early on the morning of April 28, 2012. We were at Central Market waiting for Bersih co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan to give us a rousing speech and to lead the march towards Dataran Merdeka to show the government of Malaysia that we really want clean and fair elections and that the system currently in place falls woefully short.

The carnival-like atmosphere was apparent from the moment we got there. I can only speak for the group of us at Central Market but I am reliably informed that the atmosphere was similar at the other meeting points as well. Old friends exchanged stories, new friendships were forged and drinks, food and ice cream were the order of the day.

At about 1.40pm, we began our march to Dataran Merdeka. The march itself was peaceful. There was much laughter and camaraderie in the air. The atmosphere sizzled not only from the mid-day heat but from the palpable sense that we were making a difference. The size of the crowd from Central Market alone was roughly about 20,000. We were bursting into song and chants at regular intervals. Smiles and good wishes were the order of the day. There was nothing that I saw in this crowd and from the larger group we joined later that would indicate to me that any one of these protesters harboured thoughts of anything but a peaceful protest.

But the question thrown at me from all angles and from all manner of people is why? Why go and join this bunch of ‘hooligans’ who have nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon than to cause a massive traffic jam? Why bother because the government will not listen? What if you were arrested? Who will take care of your dog? Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 3.0: An awakening

— Cee Kay
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 29, 2012

APRIL 29 — After watching Bersih 2.0 from the comfort of my home, I promised myself that if ever another Bersih were to be organised, I would be there and so there I was yesterday afternoon at 1.30pm after alighting from the LRT at the Pasar Seni station. I was not disappointed as Malaysians from all races and creeds were there, from college students to aunties and mak ciks to uncles and pak ciks. It was like a carnival, with shouts of Bersih and the eight resolutions sought. The police were just standing around which was a pleasant surprise. The number of people present was beyond my expectations and strangers of different races were chatting with each other like old friends or neighbours. That gave me hope that there are better things to come.

At about 1.40pm, the crowd began to move forward led by Ambiga and other leaders of Bersih and we were joined by others along the way. From my vantage point, I could see that there were plenty of people all the way from Pudu Sentral up to the junction of Tun Perak/Tuanku Abdul Rahman Junction and there were more along the major side roads.

It was nearly 2pm and the crowd was waiting patiently along Jalan Tun Perak, as we could not move forward. Shouts of “Bersih” and “Bangun Rakyat” could be heard as well as renditions of “Negara Ku”. I was at the Masjid Jamek station when I heard a popping sound and realised that tear gas canisters had been fired. Chaos ensued. The crowd was not aware that Ambiga had given instructions for the rally to disperse as we were far away and as such, the actions of the police caught everyone by surprise!

Suddenly, my eyes began to sting and I could not breathe but it was quite impossible to move forward. There was a mak cik in front of me and she tripped. I managed to catch hold of her because I feared she would be trampled and I managed to move to a side road. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Bersih 3.0 rally

– Hussaini Abdul Karim
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 28, 2012

APRIl 28 – What caught my attention first the moment I alighted from the LRT train at Pasar Seni at about 1.45pm today was the generally young, enthusiastic and innocent looking crowd of about 100,000 people and all of them spotted a happy look and with a lot of hope in their mind, the same thing I have.

We were walking slowly towards the direction of Dataran Merdeka and I saw thousands of people mostly dressed in Bersih 3.0 T-shirts and with some dressed in green. Along the way was a young man working vigorously handing out free bottles of mineral water. Everyone shouted slogans such as, ‘REFORMASI’, ‘BERSIH’, ‘WE WANT FAIR ELECTIONS’ and so on.

Upon reaching Jalan Lekiu near the Loke Yew Building, there was a police roadblock manned by at least 100 men. That was the closest the crowd, including me, got to Dataran Merdeka. I believe, all the other entrances were similarly blocked and no one could enter Dataran Merdeka. Read the rest of this entry »