Veto the Bersih ban, Mr PM

by Thomas Lee Seng Hock
Jul 3, 11


The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has been declared an illegal organisation effective 1 July 2011.

A statement issued by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) says that the declaration was made by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (right) under Section 5 of the Societies Act 1966.

According to the ROS statement, Bersih is not a registered organisation.

The statement claims that Bersih has been actively creating confusion and causing anxiety among the people.

It says that Bersih has been distributing handbills containing propaganda aimed at toppling the BN federal government.

The ROS statement says that Bersih has undermined the nation’s sovereignty and disrupted the harmonious environment among the country’s multi-racial population, and also caused disrepute to the country’s image, and is a threat to public order, security, and economic development and prosperity.

Bersih had earlier announced plans to hold rallies in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak on July 9 to mobilise concerned citizens to demand for a clean, fair and transparent electoral process.

Unilateral decision

The home minister’s unilateral decision to ban Bersih is certainly something any right-thinking and fair-minded believer in democracy and the rule of law will not be able to accept as just and constitutionally valid.

The rights to freedom of expression and assembly are enshrined in our federal constitution, and embraced as essential fundamental divine rights of all peoples in all democratic nations of the world, and revered in the Charter of Human Rights of the United Nations, of which Malaysia has been a proud member since it gained its independence on 31 August 1957.

The home minister’s action in declaring Bersih an illegal organisation is a direct violation of the human, civil and constitutional rights of the country’s citizens.

Human rights are the fundamental foundation upon which the total life, life-style and well-being of a human person is built and developed upon.

Human rights ensure that the spiritual, moral, intellectual, emotional, physical, social and cultural aspects of an individual’s existence is treated appropriately with value, dignity, honour, respect, and affection, and any violation of the basic human, civil and constitutional rights of any citizen of the nation should be regarded with contempt and condemnation.

Not a subversive movement

Bersih, which means “clean” in Bahasa Malaysia, is not a subversive movement out to create a violent revolution to overthrow the government of the day.

It is simply a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and certain political parties to seek and promote a legal reformation and transformation of the current very unsatisfactory and unacceptable electoral process in the country.

The allegations that Bersih is being funded by foreign sources, in particular by Christian interests, to destabilise the nation, and is a movement to bring about the resurgence of communism are uncalled for and unwarranted, and a real despicable attempt to create hatred and contempt among the various races.

Those who made such allegations should be the one arrested and charged for sedition, not the Bersih advocates.

Bersih has specifically demanded that several changes be instituted for the present election laws and practices to ensure that elections are conducted in a fair, just and transparent manner.

Among the reforms Bersih proposed are (1) a complete and thorough cleaning of the electoral rolls to remove entries that are no longer valid such as names of dead persons, (2) all political parties and their candidates be allowed and provided with equal access to the print and broadcast media, (3) the campaign period be extended to allow all parties and their candidates more time to reach out to the people to promote and explain their views. (4) abolish postal voting in view of the high probability that it is easily abused and manipulated, and (5) using permanent ink to ensure that each voter may only vote once.

Such proposals are not unreasonable or impractical, and any government professing to practise democracy and rule of the laws should surely has no genuine ground to reject them.

And the promotion of a fair, just and transparent electoral process should not be considered a subversive plot to overthrow the government of the day.

In fact, it is a joke to suggest that Bersih is out to grab political power by illegal means, especially the use of violence.

The mobilisation of concerned citizens in a peaceful assembly to exercise their rights to seek changes for the betterment of the nation is surely not a sin, not indivisible to the pursuit of a holistic, righteous, fair, just and dignified nation-building process.

It is the inherit divine right of a citizen to express his views vocally, visibly, and vividly, the government has no moral right to deprive and curb such rights.

Reformation of electoral process

The stated ultimate goal of Bersih is just the reformation of the nation’s electoral process to ensure that the human, civil and constitutional rights of the legitimate citizens are protected and respected, and not any evil political agenda as insinuated by the mercenary spin writers of the mainstream media, and certain former opposition politicians who had sold their souls, betrayed their constituents, and manoeuvred themselves into favoured and profitable positions in the establishment.

Such despicable persons should be dismissed with scorn, and their views discharged with disbelief and disparagement.

Meanwhile, the police force should consider the fact that all forms of peaceful expression and assembly by the people should be respected and allowed to take place without any enforced restraint and forceful intervention by them.

Bersih should be allowed to hold its civil rights assembly so long as no violence or chaotic disorder are intended.

The Bersih rally organisers have never attempted any incitement to riot and chaos, and the police should not take any unilateral action that may possibly cause confusion and provoke an unpredictable disorder with people scattering in various random directions.

The police should not use canes, tear gas or water cannons on the crowd, but should provide proper crowd and traffic control to ensure that no untoward and adverse situation could develop.

Any suspected trouble-maker should be stopped and detained, but no use of force should be made on the peaceful assembly.

The Bersih ban is surely a dark blot on the image of the nation, and I appeal to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to use his wisdom and good office to stop further damage to the country by vetoing the foolish action of the home minister, and also allow the peaceful assembly to take place as scheduled.

If he does that, I will salute him for his statesmanship.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Monday, 4 July 2011 - 9:03 am

    No time 2 veto d Bersih ban lah, even though YdPA declared Bersih is OK 1
    NR n Losima very excited n encouraged over Thai GE outcome
    If Yingluck can, Losima can too in dis canland
    Perhaps NR now busy laying groundwork 4 Losima 2 stand 4 erection in d next GE 2 b d next PM n d first female PM of canland

  2. #2 by dagen on Monday, 4 July 2011 - 9:21 am

    This stupid fool could not see what is coming! Veto the ban by his cousin? Come on. What is the diff. Jib. Keris. Keris. Jib. They are one and the same person. In any case he is just too stupid to realise the change that is now taking place!

    But he is lucky. Well so far, that is. Because malaysians by and large still believe in the constitutional process of general election. That is precisely why they are asking for transparency in that process; and for a clean and fair general election.

    The only logical, proper and satisfactory action by him ought to be the implementation of sufficient and clear measures to ensure clean and fair elections. That way then no Bersih street party would ever be needed. So who really caused the Bersih movement? Umno of course. And because of umno’s failure to deal with the situation effectively and fairly, now the people are compelled to speak in a collective and hence louder voice.

    Be that as it may, actually there is still time for jib to do the right thing. But stupid as he is, he decided that it would be better to counter the Bersih movement instead – thinking that he could face off the people’s movement with an equivalent umno members’ movement (for there are three million members in umno whom he obviously thought he could call on for the purpose).

    And for good measure, he, again, thought it would be a good idea to throw in some scare tactics too. So in come the silat exponents. The oh boy communist hysteria. And the wtf racial unrest speculation. In the past any of these scary tales would have worked and produced the magical compliance/obedience umno wanted. But not this time for the people are not deterred at all. The Bersih wheel is still turning.

    This is a completely new situation for umno. This new situation again is the creation of none other than umno. Umno is making it harder and harder for jib to handle a simple issue – i.e. fair election which is what elections are suppose to be in the first place.

    As if things are not bad enough, umno decided to dig deeper. Call in the police. Call in the army. Call in the threats of emergency arrest.

    Careful there, umno. You may be running out of luck.

  3. #3 by lkt-56 on Monday, 4 July 2011 - 9:30 am

    Fact: He can’t ‘cos he is fearful of facing the growing dissatisfaction of the citizens over his in ability to bring about the promised reforms.

    But at last he is opening a door for talks with Bersih 2.0 through our King. Coming to his senses perhaps. We have four days to avoid a confrontational encounter on July 9, 2011.

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