Rais demonising citizens through Bersih, says Ambiga

By Debra Chong
June 18, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan denied today all links between the recent spate of cyber attacks on government websites and her electoral reform group raised yesterday by Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, saying his conjecture is an attack on Malaysians.

A group of hackers calling themselves Anonymous mounted an attack on at least 200 websites last Thursday, saying they are against censorship of websites by the government.

“It’s a wholly unfounded, unreasonable, preposterous suggestion made by a Cabinet minister who should really know better than to make such wild accusations,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

She added that Rais’s comment was an attack not just on Bersih but on Malaysian citizens’ constitutional right to assemble peaceably.

“I am entirely surprised by the raving of a few members of the government against Bersih 2.0 and their attempts to demonise Bersih; and I view Rais Yatim’s comments as one of these attempts.

“I consider this an attack on the people and it is a shame they chose to do this rather than listen to the people,” the former Malaysian Bar president said.

Rais, who is the information, communication and culture minister, had linked yesterday the mass attacks on some 200 local websites to the upcoming Bersih rally on July 9 after Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili told reporters initial investigations showed 90 per cent of the hackers were based in Malaysia.

Rais further described the cyber attacks as politically-motivated and intended to disrupt the workings of the government, but did not provide details as to how the denial of service attacks were related to the July 9 rally that is pushing for electoral reforms.

“If, for example, a land authority website is hacked, then property transactions will be interrupted. The same goes for banking and others; these cyber attacks are strange and, sadly, politically motivated,” he said in a news conference.

Ambiga lamented the extreme reactions to the Bersih rally and advised Putrajaya to rethink their approach to civil society.

“In my view, responding to people by demonising and branding people is the wrong approach,” she said.

She added that the Najb administration could learn something from the Singapore government, which had emerged slightly bruised from its recent general election and said it would listen to voters.

“I was impressed with the standard of debate by all parties, including the opposition, where they discussed and debated policy rather than descending into filth,” Ambiga said.

“What Bersih wants is a higher standard of elections. We want clean elections. Now, is that too much to ask?” she asked.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told an inaugural business forum between Malaysia and Africa earlier today that changing social expectations was among the challenges Putrajaya must address in its bid for Malaysia to become a developed nation by 2020.

“From an economic perspective, there are many lessons that one can learn from these events — strong anti-bribery laws must be enacted and implemented; enforcement of these laws must be done without fear or favour; engagement of civil society to tackle abuses of power; and encouraging open communication to promote accountability,” he said, referring to what has come to be termed the Arab Spring.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 6:39 pm

    Ambiga can put Rais Yatim in her purse anytime.
    This useless Info minister must create something from nothing….and why so.
    Like Anwar said….their arrogance of power is infact …..fear of loosing power.
    And Rais Yatim is doing all he can to be noticed and wanted by Najib.. for 13th GE.
    Trace his track record as a Minister.

  2. #2 by undertaker888 on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 7:12 pm

    There’s only one thing I can say. I hate umno.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 8:00 pm

    I hope Ambiga S. strategy is better than just stick with her plans and not get shaken. Its a bit foolishly naive. She is asking people to stick their necks out, she has to do more than just use them as a statistics and her argument. She has put herself in a leadership position and that means to step up for the people that comes out for her..The bullies are coming after the people behind her, its irresponsible to just let the wolves feed on them without protection..

  4. #4 by bruno on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 8:01 pm

    Rais yatim is a Senior Minister who has serve under several PMs.He is an old horse who has outlived his usefullness at the track and should be put out to pasture.He knows that he cannot funtion effectively anymore and does not even command respect from his junior ministers.He usually speaks through his noses,talks rubbish and has a thick skin.Although he has been a minister for many terms,Rais is usually given the potforlio with the least importance.Yet he still doesn’t get it.With his recent personal scandal although not proven, any body with a little bit of pride left would have headed for the hills.Umno is scared stiff of Ambiga and her determination to see the upcoming Bersih rally through with a crowd many times over Bersih 1.This one hell of a lady might be the last straw that is going to break the camel’s back.

  5. #5 by Winston on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 8:03 pm

    Ambiga, this revolting person knows that if there are clean, fair elections, his party will be done for!
    So, they’ll do everything in their power to thwart anything that’ll give the opposition a level playing field!
    As for debates, they have always shirk this aspect of being a politician!
    We all know that politicians must be able to convince people by putting their ideas across through repartees but how many of them are up to it?
    So, talking rot replaces debates as far as they’re concerned.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 10:02 pm

    What would Bersih 2 of 2011 be able to achieve (by way of pressuring the government to effect electoral reforms) that Bersih 1 in 2007 could not? If they were relying on dirty electoral practices to win elections and continue power they would do so even if Bersih 3 to 10 continue every year, wouldn’t it? So what is it really about? Is it to show that if thousands could be galvanized to march the government will relent by that pressure? What is the nature of that ‘pressure’ if hundreds of thousands throng the streets from Chinese Assembly Hall to Istana? Is it implicit position of such a massive march that hundreds of thousands of peaceful demonstrators could achieve what the rigged election based on dirty rules cannot achieve? If that’s the case does not Bersih 2 (indirectly but ultimately) boil down to a show/demonstration of people’s power vis-à-vis state power?

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 10:26 pm

    Ministers think they r d bosses when they r really SERVANTS of voters
    Cane them, kick them 2 teach them a lesson dat they r SERVANTS: serve d rakyat
    Ministers shld in fact direct d polis 2 keep peace n order n assist rakyat/bosses 2 hv a peaceful rally (d democratic rights of rakyat lah, U dumb servant minister)

  8. #8 by Cinapek on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 10:56 pm

    Rais Yatim is a man of law and a highly qualified one at that. So for him to make such a preposterous claim without any proof surely betrays his desperation to endear himself in his boss’s good books in order to stay relevant. I suspect he knows the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture is a dead end posting meant for those UMNO leaders heading for the exit door because he seems to exhibit the same desperation as his predecessor who, in his final days, exhibited similar extreme paranoia and saw a ghost in every shadow.

    I once had admiration for him as I thought he had principles and how he had stood shoulder to shoulder with Ku Li as they stood up to TDM. But alas, I suppose he is no different when the temptation to return to the corridors of power beckons.

  9. #9 by mauriyaII on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 11:12 pm

    Anything CLEAN and FAIR is anathema to the UMNOputras. Those socalled leaders of MCA, GERAKAN and MIC are just lapdogs. They do not voice out any objections even if it is good for the rakyat because they are only in politics money, power and titles.

    The ministers in the Malaysian cabinet do not work for the rakyat or the country. They do not understand BERSIH.They do not know what it stands for. What the organizers of BERSIH want is a FAIR and CLEAN election.

    The Election Commission has become another pawn of the UMNOputras. It is not independent. It does not follow its mandate to run elections in the country according to acceptable standards of impartiality. Money politics is rampant. Vote buying is blatant. Lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu is the mantra of the UMNOputras as practised by its leader. If giving out goodies and money during the runup to elections is not corruption, then what is? In fact CORRUPTION HAS BECOME THE WAY OF LIFE TO OUR Barisan Neraka leaders.

    By not allowing the BERSIH rally and putting in all sorts of obstacles in its way shows clearly that they are SCARED of CLEAN AND FAIR ELECTIONS.

    Any morally upright and righteous person would support whole heartedly the BERSIH initiative. Why are the UMNOputras so fearful of a peaceful rally? Are they under the impression the rally might turn out to be the harbinger of their fall?

    Instead of manning roadblocks and water cannons on July 9, the PDRM should see to it that there are untoward incidents from the likes of katak Ibrahim and his rabid PERKOSA troublemakers. In fact the PDRM should arrest him as a preventive measure.

  10. #10 by bruno on Sunday, 19 June 2011 - 1:17 am

    Rais Yatim is an old horse who has outlived his welcome.He always speak through his noses, talking nonsense.Why is Umno Ministers so very afraid of Bersih.Does Ambiga of Bersih hold such a big broomstick that she is going to sweep the Barisan Cabinet out to pasture.Is she the “GORILLA” that is holding the last straw that is going to break the camel’s back.

  11. #11 by wanderer on Sunday, 19 June 2011 - 10:40 am

    How could we possibly take the words of a alleged rapist!…an old dead wood who has little shelf life remaining. This dishonorable minister ca only be found in a rotten racist govt.

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