Umno goes berserk with Bersih

By Mariam Mokhtar
June 24, 2011 | Free Malaysia Today

Ambiga Sreenevasan, the Bersih chairman, may yet be the person who leads this country out of the quagmire. Ambiga was the Malaysian Bar chairman from 2007-2009 and in March 2009, received the US Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage from Hillary Clinton, with the US First Lady, Michelle Obama in attendance.

Mrs Clinton praised Ambiga for her pursuit of judicial reform and good governance. She described Ambiga as a champion of religious tolerance, a staunch advocate of women’s equality, whose work and influence was felt in Malaysia and in other countries.

Early yesterday morning, Ambiga received a text message; she was threatened with death if she persisted with her “Walk for Democracy” on July 9.

The chilling contents of the SMS were in Malay and part of the message read: “If the rally takes place my people and I will kill Ambiga and all those around her one by one including the idiot politicians who are in cahoots with this infidel. This is my warning. You watch out.”

The sender also accused Ambiga of being manipulated to spread discord amongst the Malays.

It said, “The PAS and PKR camps are both deaf and blind. If the Election Commission wasn’t clean, how could they have won Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Perak?”

The DAP was dubbed “Cina sial” for its role in the perceived downfall of the Malays. It was accused of plotting to rule the country and converting everyone to Christianity.

Ambiga has managed to galvanise the nation to demand free and fair elections. She has urged all politicians, from both sides of the political divide, to unite and seek clean elections and to advocate electoral reforms.

As soon as Ambiga announced the date for the proposed rally, many tried to undermine her. Chief amongst her detractors was Ibrahim Ali, president of the Malay NGO Perkasa.

Ibrahim Ali said that the “Chinese should stock up food” in a thinly veiled reference to ensuing violence if the march went ahead.

The Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and the Inspector–General of Police, Ismail Omar have refused to act against Ibrahim who is aware that he is protected by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Ibrahim is free to continue his tirades.

Ibrahim’s stance will provide the excuse for police intervention, possibly with the use of violent tactics, purportedly in the name of national security.

Umno Youth has also said it too would take to the streets. With two Malay groups, each vying for attention, the use of force by the police is unavoidable.

Our Summer of Change

The nation is well aware that the chaos in the middle-east has rattled despotic nations around the world. The Malaysian authorities know only too well that their authoritarian rule is not immune from the changing world order.

The rakyat has exercised caution and acted with restraint in pursuance of its rights. But how much longer can it tolerate all the injustices? Are they prepared to wear the yoke for another 54 years under Umno?

If the Arabs had their defining moment in the form of the Arab Spring, Malaysians might well have their day of reckoning in our Summer of Change.

So who stands to lose the most, when Bersih marches on July 9? Umno of course!

Umno, and the various people who benefitted from its largesse in the form of contracts, awards, scholarships, directorships and donations are desperate.

If the rakyat triumphs and true democracy is restored, Umno and its cohorts stand to lose everything – their riches, the false respect they have been accorded, their supposed elevated status in society and naturally, their freedom. Their fall from grace is palpable.

Ambiga is focused on her mission, to save the Malaysian soul. She is leading us to exercise our right to freedom of peaceful assembly on July 9. She has the rakyat’s backing. The authorities may be left standing on the beach trying to stop a tsunami.

When the various ploys to make Ambiga change her mind had failed, Umno got to work, possibly at the instigation of APCO.

Bernama reported that ‘several political analysts’ criticised Ambiga for “tarnishing Malaysia’s image as a nation blessed with peace, harmony and prosperity”.

Although Bernama was not able to name one credible political analyst, these analysts avoided all reference to the simmering tensions and cruel acts practiced on people who are non-Malay and non-Muslim.

These analysts decried Ambiga for distracting the rakyat from the sodomy trial of the Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The chairman of the NGO ‘1Agenda’ lodged a police report against Bersih for inviting international media coverage.

The Bernama report described how the assemblies of 1998 and 2007 had inconvenienced the public, caused damage to public property and attracted negative publicity abroad.

One lecturer from the University Utara Malaysia in Kedah, condemned the march because it would mean Malaysia would not be seen as a “paradise for shoppers and tourist and be seen as a place of chaos”.

Since when are lecturers in our higher institutions of learning more concerned about the frivolities of shopping rather than true democracy and principles of good governance? What sort of lecturer has our Minister of Education, Muhyiddin Yassin cultivated?

Cheap and tacky slogans

Another political observer claimed that few would sympathise with a group which acted selfishly and which was prepared to have Malaysia ostracized internationally.

She opined that the Election Commission had acted fairly otherwise no states would have fallen to the Opposition and said: “Is the ambition of one man to become the prime minister, more important than the future of 27 million Malaysians?”

Sadly, there are many misguided people around who have been brainwashed into thinking that Bersih is about Anwar, or that the rakyat’s request for free and fair elections has turned into a battle of political wills.

Bersih is more than just shopping or making Anwar prime minister. The people who think that Bersih or similar rallies will cause foreign investors or tourist to avoid Malaysia are misguided.

Tourists don’t see the real Malaysia, the Internal Security Act and the Kamunting Hilton. Some tourists are happy as long as they find cheap goods, cheap beer and cheap women.

Our reputation is tarnished because we have endemic corruption, a police and judiciary which act as stooges for Umno, where once noble and reputable institutions have become extensions of the Umno empire, where no one is accountable for the unjustified waste of taxpayer’s money, where the rakyat live by cheap and tacky slogans and where race and religious intolerance is continually used to divide the people.

It is time we stopped watching from the sidelines but took part in the rally which is two weeks from today – the Bersih 2.0 march for democracy will be on July 9, 2011. Please be there.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Saturday, 25 June 2011 - 1:55 pm

    //Since when are lecturers in our higher institutions of learning more concerned about the frivolities of shopping rather than true democracy and principles of good governance? //

    Aiyah aah, by pretending to be ‘patriotic’ is the lecturer’s only chance at getting a promotion. A pay raise would mean an extra RM300 a month for him, who is struggling to feed his large family comprising 4 wives and 20 kids……

  2. #2 by novice101 on Saturday, 25 June 2011 - 2:54 pm

    We should really thank Perkasa, the Utusan and UMNO Youth for galvanizing the people. Their over-stepping of the boundary of decency has provoked the people and now they are ready to stand up and be counted.

    Now Najib and the police are also giving a helping hand. The evil and corrrupted are confused by the simple acts of the righteous.

  3. #3 by donkeykong on Saturday, 25 June 2011 - 8:56 pm

    An internal email circulated by so called Associate Professor in UTeM forwarded to me

    Assalmualaikum semua,

    Perhimpunan bersih berkemungkinan besar berselindung di sebalik namanya yang “bersih” tapi berkemungkinan besar untuk memenuhi matlamat beberapa pemimpin politik yang terdesak untuk lari dari jerutan yang sukar dirungkaikan akibat kelalaian menjaga maruah diri sendiri. Oleh itu jangan ada antara kita yang membenarkan diri kita dipergunakan untuk mencapai matlamat politik seseorang.

    Ia berkemungkinan untuk mengukur sejauh mana kekuatan politik mereka serta bakal sokongan yang akan diperolehi dalam pilihan raya akan datang. Ia juga berkemungkinan besar untuk membuka jalan terakhir yang teramat desperate untuk lepas dari sesuatu hukuman yang kelak menjejaskan dan menghancurkan segala kekuatan pakatan politik yang telah berpuluh tahun dibangunkan malah yang akan menutup riwayat satu kitaran hidup sebuah parti politik.Oleh itu tidak hairanlah bila di dalam perhimpunan itu nanti akan ada kumpulan yang amat berani yang akan memulakan satu siri kekacauan yang dasyat untuk mengumpan polis membuat tidakan keras dan mengakibatkan anda yang bersama mereka terbabit. Apabila ini berlaku maka berulanglah kisah yang sama seperti yang berlaku sebelum ini.

    Sebagai rakyat dan kakitangan insitusi intelek, kita perlu mengekalkan tahap profesional kita dan keberkecualian kita demi tidak menampakkan kelemahan kita sebagai ahli institusi akademik yang intelek, mahir dan peka dalam menilai matlamat, kesan dan risiko sesuatu penglibatan dalam aktiviti politik.

    Sekadar nasihat dari hamba ALLAH yang jahil. Wallahuaklam.


    Profesor Madya Ir. Dr. Abdul Talib bin Din
    Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering
    Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,
    Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka,
    75450 Ayer Keroh, Hang Tuah Jaya, Melaka.
    Tel: 606-2346903/6887 Fax: 606-2346884
    HP: 019-2709819 / 016-6423989
    Email: [email protected]

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