Archive for July 13th, 2011

Crackdown 2.0 in Malaysia

Wall Street Journal
JULY 12, 2011.

With its response to Bersih 2.0, a rally for electoral reform, the government has created an environment of fear and repression

Based on the evidence of this weekend’s rally in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysians aspire for a more competitive political system than what they have. Also based on this weekend’s evidence, Prime Minister Najib Razak isn’t prepared to give it to them.

An estimated 20,000 or more people peacefully gathered in Kuala Lumpur Saturday to call for free and fair elections. Their complaints included vote-rigging and gerrymandering of constituencies to the ruling party’s benefit. Bersih 2.0, as the rally was called, was the biggest event of its kind in four years. The original Bersih (the word means “clean” in Malay) called for electoral reforms in 2007.

As with the original rally, this one was met not by understanding from the government but by police deploying tear gas and water cannons. More than 1,600 attendees were detained and released late Sunday. One demonstrator died from a heart attack. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih rally important, but not a game changer

By Ong Kian Ming
Jul 11, 11 | MalaysiaKini

COMMENT It is far from easy to objectively evaluate the political and electoral impact of the Bersih 2.0 rally in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, especially when one was in the middle of the said rally, receiving ‘presents’ in the form of tear gas canisters from our beloved police force.

But given the huge amount of press attention and public spotlight in the lead-up to and during the rally, it would be remiss not to consider the possible political and electoral repercussions, especially since the first Bersih rally was seen as being instrumental in sparking off the March 2008 electoral tsunami. Read the rest of this entry »