Why Is Perkasa Against Bersih?

By Kee Thuan Chye | 14 June 2011
Malaysian Digest

MANY people have come to regard Ibrahim Ali as a clown, including Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz. One hopes Ibrahim was just talking like a clown when he recently announced that his organization, Perkasa, would oppose the planned Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9 by staging a counter-demonstration. “That means,” as he himself says, “on that day, there will be confrontation.”

This is militant talk. This is a threat to cause violence. And to add fuel to it, Ibrahim has pledged that in the event of a clash, “I will fight to the end”.

But why would Perkasa want to oppose the Bersih 2.0 rally? The rally has nothing to do with race – it is not demonstrating against Malay supremacy, which Perkasa was set up to defend. The rally is calling for electoral and institutional reform. It is calling for the electoral roll to be cleaned up, postal voting to be reformed, indelible ink to be used at elections, all political parties to be given free and fair access to the media, automatic voter registration, a minimum of 21 days for the campaign period, the strengthening of public institutions, a stop to corruption, and a stop to dirty politics.

Is Perkasa against free and fair elections? Is it against calling for a stop to corruption?

Ibrahim explains: A big demonstration like the Bersih rally, which expects to draw about 100,000 protestors, will cause chaos. It could be like the protests in the Middle East.

Ibrahim thinks people will throw stones, burn cars, and injuries will result like in Tunisia.

History has shown that this was not the case during the last Bersih rally in 2007. About 40,000 people were estimated to have taken part then, but it was an entirely peaceful rally, except when the police fired water cannons and hurled tear gas at the protestors. No one was out to throw stones or burn cars.

This time around, the rally is expected to be peaceful as well, aimed at creating awareness among Malaysians of the need for electoral reform. If no one intervened, including the police, if the permit was granted and the police kept vigil merely to pre-empt untoward incidents, there should be no harm done.

So, what Ibrahim has predicted is unfounded. Besides, his reference to Tunisia is ironic. The protests there actually brought down an unpopular and repressive regime. Is such a positive cause, like Bersih 2.0’s, to be spoken of in negative terms?

In fact, what will cause chaos is the clash that could result if Perkasa and the other NGOs he proposes to co-opt take to the streets at the same time to oppose the Bersih 2.0 rally. What he is proposing to do is the real danger. But Ibrahim knows he can get away with expressing it because he has always been untouched in the past. Many have been the times when he said things that could have caused him to be charged with sedition, but never has he been called to account for them. Last month, he said he would launch a jihad against Malaysian Christians if they tried to usurp the position of Islam, and before that, he had said other things that incited hatred against non-Malays.

It may be that the Government takes no action against him because it considers him a clown, or even a paper tiger. Or it may be that he is actually helping the Government by opposing the Bersih 2.0 rally because the ruling party seemingly does not endorse the idea of free and fair elections. After all, the 2007 rally was partly instrumental in its loss of its two-thirds majority. The ruling party would no doubt be worried that another such rally could dim its prospects at the next general election.

Whatever the reason or reasons, in the context of Ibrahim’s current pronouncement, it looks bad for the Government. Speculation has already been rife that Perkasa is actually affiliated to Umno, that it is the organization to which Umno has outsourced the job of defending Ketuanan Melayu so that Umno is not seen to be racist; now, with Perkasa going outside of its prescribed agenda and raison d’etre as an organization to oppose Bersih 2.0, it appears to be another Government stooge.

In politics, perception often takes ascendancy over reality, so even if is not true that Perkasa is affiliated to Umno, the perception that it is has now been confirmed.

Ibrahim says he is stopping the Bersih 2.0 rally in the name of democracy. This is based on his reasoning that “there are people who do not agree with this rally”. Well, fine. The people who do not agree have a right to express it publicly too. But by the same token, Bersih 2.0 has a right to stage its rally, so stopping it is actually anti-democratic.

He reportedly goes on to say that he is not worried by the expected Bersih 2.0 turnout of 100,000 people because most Malaysians will not accept the movement’s demands. If he’s not worried, then why bother to oppose it? He reasons that since Malaysia has a population of 27 million people, even if Bersih 2.0 were to bring 300,000 to the rally, there would still be 26 million plus who would not agree with it. His mathematics is okay, but his reasoning is clearly faulty and hopelessly warped.

Nazri may be right after all in calling Ibrahim Ali a clown. But even so, if there is a movement going on to campaign for reform, clowns should not be allowed to spoil the party. Especially if they are clowns who might start an unwanted fire.

  1. #1 by Winston on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 3:16 pm

    “Ibrahim thinks people will throw stones, burn cars, and injuries will result like in Tunisia.” – End of quote
    You can be quite sure that this time, there’ll be throwing of stones and burning of cars, just to make his prediction come true.
    And we all know who will be behind all these.
    And the Kotor will say, “We told you so!”.

  2. #2 by Joshua on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 3:37 pm

    Maybe some Perkasa people would wear the same T shirts to disrupt the Peace Walk.

    Then some injuries would ensure to justify the mastery stage to the point of another 1969 which so far have failed to provide the sparks..

    Whatever go there for more…for total change


  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 3:41 pm

    Why is Perkasa against Bersih?


    Because Perkasa is KOTOR.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 4:00 pm

    Ever wonder why the ex-PKR frogs such as Zool Nordin, Wee KS, Zakrain, ect are pro-perkosa and anti-bersih? It seems their political future depends on gaining umno’s favour.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 4:16 pm

    A bigger question is why has Hishamuddin sit down with Bersih and Perkasa and make them stay away from each other on July 9? Why hasn’t he lay the ground rules. Its clear they want a mess so that they can blame and give excuses..

  6. #6 by Mike Tee on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 5:34 pm

    Racist organisation like Perkasa and Utusan are the mouth piece of racist UMNO, police will do nothing to Ibrahim as he spells out the message for UMNO.
    Like Utusan if there is any wrong doing, police authority will taking time ‘gather informations’ first, arrest later if there is any. For any opposition is arrest first, taking time investigation if there is any later. Never fail !!
    If no action taken by the authority, you know that is exactly what the authority want you to hear.

  7. #7 by gofortruth on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 5:41 pm

    First the vile threats against Christians and now a wild swing (terrorist style) at the clean & fair election campaign by Bersih. This only exposes Perkasa’s true identity as a mere ugly “sh*t stirrer” ,a “fear & threatening” tool of UMNO (Mahathir’s faction). Najib’s & Hisham’s faction is more than willing to jump on the band wagon in the hope to invoke OP Lalang 2. Foreign investors will be the 1st to shun Malaysia!!!!

  8. #8 by Loh on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 6:19 pm

    ///Ibrahim says he is stopping the Bersih 2.0 rally in the name of democracy. This is based on his reasoning that “there are people who do not agree with this rally”. Well, fine. The people who do not agree have a right to express it publicly too. But by the same token, Bersih 2.0 has a right to stage its rally, so stopping it is actually anti-democratic.///–KTC

    Hishamuddin the Home Minister should realize that people request for the permit to protest so that police would take action to ensure that the protesters are safe to express their views. The police would also have to take actions to ensure that traffic flow is properly directed. The request for permit is not a request for the Home Minister to agree to the views yet to be expressed.

    Perkas has said that they did not agree with Bersih. They certainly have their right to express such views and hold a procession. They are however not allowed to disturb the procession of Bersih, much less to stop Bersih from conducting its planned rally. Thus Home Ministry would be failing in its duties if it allowed Perkasa to have a rally on the same time.

    Ibrahim Ali has expressed its plan to oppose Bersih. It has no duty to do so, and if he organizes anti-Bersih rally on the same day then he is disturbing peace. The police should know that Bersih intend to have peaceful procession, and Perkasa has expressed its desire to use force to stop Bersih doing what it planned. Is it so difficult for the Home Ministry to do its duties?

  9. #9 by Thor on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 7:37 pm

    Pigs only oink but this is the first time in my life that I’ve came across one who only knows how to bark!
    Holy Malaysia!!!

  10. #10 by hallo on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 10:28 pm

    Those corrupted politicians and those corrupted are worry be charged and lock up in jail

    This is what all about AGAINST BESIH

  11. #11 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 - 10:32 pm

    Simple, if the truth is out, then all those Cronies will have nothing from the gravy train. Do not expect them to think in term of even helping the really poor Malays.they just wanted to help themselves. They never have any intention to share the wealth with those who deserve it. Otherwise, you think the Ibrahim is going to shout so loud? it is mere self preservation!

  12. #12 by dagen on Thursday, 16 June 2011 - 8:55 am

    According to umno:

    Fighting corruption is wrong, illegal and an ungrateful act;
    Asking for fair election is wrong, illegal and an ungrateful act;
    Wanting better education is wrong, illegal and an ungrateful act;
    Asking for safer roads and housing estates is wrong, illegal and ungrateful act;
    Demanding an end to cryonism is wrong, illegal and an ungrateful act;
    Asking for a stop to project IC dr mamak is wrong, illegal and an ungrateful act;
    Wanting to know how umno burst the project costs of many of its mega projects is wrong, illegal and an ungrateful act;

    and many many more.

    Wooow. Umno memang boleh. Yeaaah!

  13. #13 by cryingmalaysian on Thursday, 16 June 2011 - 11:53 am

    What is very worrying is Ibrahim Ali vowing to fight it and we all know who the authorities are going to support. The only way for Bersih to succeed is to have more people wake up and realise what is going on and join it. I am quite certain there are more people in support of Bersih than there are of Ibrahim Ali, we just have to get them out there.

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