Yes Mr PM, it’s ‘all about politics’

By Jeswan Kaur
July 16, 2011 | Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT The dust on the crackdown by the Barisan Nasional government against a rally seeking to reform the electoral system will never settle.

In exactly a week since election watchdog Bersih 2.0 held its “Walk for Democracy” last Saturday, much dirt has surfaced, all pointing in the direction of the BN leadership under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Not only did Najib try his very best to play out Bersih 2.0 or the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections comprising 62 non-governmental organisations, he unwittingly ended up making the biggest mistake in his mere two-years of premiership, when he pitted the police force against the rakyat.

Whilst the rally succeeded in bringing together 50,000 concerned and worried Malaysians, it also made history when 1,600 participants were arrested, the largest haul in a day in the history of this country.

As far as the premier goes, he is the least interested in what the July 9, 2011, rally has to teach.

Instead, Najib has worsened matters by spewing lies after lies, ending up only to make a fool of himself. He is doing all he can to wipe off the July 9 rude awakening.

In an interview with the CNN in London a few days back, Najib foolishly lied to the station anchor John Defteriors, saying that no undue force was used on the rally participants. As far as Najib is capable of deducing, the July 9 rally was “all about politics”.

“Because there is democracy in Malaysia. And we are committed towards electoral reform,” he unashamedly lied during the interview.

Democracy? Commitment and electoral reforms? One doubts whether Najib even understands the meaning of these words.

If there is democracy in Malaysia, then the 1,600 participants would not have been arrested. If democracy is alive here, Bersih 2.0 would not have been bullied and threatened. Yes, if democracy exists in Malaysia, the rakyat would have been able to engage in the “Walk for Democracy” peacefully, without any fear.

But none of the above happened. To Najib, democracy is a carrot he thinks he can dangle to the rakyat anytime he wants, all to fulfill his own hidden agendas.

Najib’s bag of lies

To further lie that no force was used on the participants has only confirmed Najib’s status as a leader who will go to any length to manipulate and mislead. There is ample evidence of the police brutality and yet the premier could in a poker face manner claim no undue force was exerted on the participants.

No wonder Malaysians seem to be suffering from the third class mentality, having long ago caught the “virus” from the so-called leaders whom they had entrusted with power.

Najib knows the truth behind July 9, 2011. But his conviction is simply to weak stand up for the truth. His claim that the rally which Najib labelled as a street protest was “all about politics” is one big dangerous lie.

The truth which begs defence is that it is Najib who turned the Bersih 2.0 walk into a political charade, deploying cops in thousands. The Najib administration’s threats to detain the Bersih 2.0 leaders under the draconian Internal Security Act, that was “all about politics”.

Detaining activists and Parti Sosialis Malaysia members like Dr Michael D Jeyakumar under the Emergency Ordinance, that is “all about politics”. Not allowing relatives to visit the ailing doctor at the National Heart Institute is nothing but cruelty at its best.

Depriving the people of their right to assemble peacefully was “all about politics”. Misusing the police force is “all about politics”. In short, Najib’s sabotaging the “Walk for Democracy” was “all about politics”.

Stop demonising Bersih 2.0

When the taxi drivers association conspired against Bersih 2.0 and condemned the rally, little did they realise their bluff was “all about politics”. There was no lack of passengers on July 9, as revealed by some of the taxi drivers.

One of the cabbies shared with FMT that he and other fellow taxi drivers were overwhelmed by the demand for taxis and were unable to cope with it.

“Too many people are hailing taxis today; I wish I could cope and earn lots of money,” the cabbie who wanted to be identified only as “Abang Din” said.

“But the police are spoiling it by closing roads into the city centre. So I can only pick up passengers going to locations that are not blocked.”

When FMT told “Abang Din” of the claims made by the Kuala Lumpur Taxi Drivers’ Association that business would suffer on July 9, he said the spokesperson at best represented a mere two or three taxi drivers who were either unnecessarily perturbed or were pro-Umno supporters.

The same went for restaurant owners who made good money on July 9, all thanks to “a lot of hungry people today (July 9), much more than the usual Saturday crowd”, said a restaurant owner.

Najib’s attempt to save face

When PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang publicly thanked Najib’s government for taking good care of the detainees by filling up their stomachs with a buffet meal, the former at best was perhaps just being thankful for not being made to starve.

The buffet meals bear no justification to the actions of the police against the rally supporters, turning violent against the rakyat, beating and kicking them and firing tear gas and drenching them with sprays of water cannons.

To save face, Najib thought free food would do the trick and win him the people’s support. Getting the police to feed the detained rally participants and offer them a ride back home, now, that is “all about politics”.

Najib was wrong by assuming that “a hungry person is an angry person” as despite being hungry and their throats parched, the “Walk for Democracy” supporters were very proud of themselves for having had the courage to support an issue long being abused by the BN government.

For Najib, the whack in confidence that both BN and Umno received from the rally participants still scares him. Scrambling to undertake any form of damage control, he quickly dispatched Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai to the Tung Shin Hospital in Jalan Pudu, which was one of the sites where the tear gas was fired into.

After a hurried pow-wow, Liow on July 11 informed the press no tear gas was ever shot into the hospital premise. He instead blamed the rally participants for “ambushing” the hospital.

Sadly, the hospital management nodded, like little good children who are easily pleased with candies. Tung Shin board chairman was adamant that no tear gas was fired into the hospital ground. Such ‘conspiracy’, premier Najib, was “all about politics”.

But then no lie can remain hidden for long. On July 13, a group of doctors denounced Liow’s press remarks. Some of these doctors were either working or visiting the hospital on July 9 when the tear gas was fired.

Embarrassed, Liow scrambled like Najib to save face, telling the press a committee had been set up by the ministry to determine the truth.

Bersih 2.0 has left its mark

The “Walk for Democracy” will never be forgotten. Be it the rakyat or the BN government, the rally has left its mark on both, telling them why the many years of abuse of the electoral system will be tolerated no more.

An election free from manipulation and corruption, that is the vision of Bersih 2.0. That vision which kicked off on July 9, saw tremendous support being given by Malaysians residing in foreign lands including Australia, America, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Cambodia.

The show of solidarity given by Malaysians not just back home but abroad has said it all, that the days of abuse and manipulation of the electoral system is numbered.

What remains to be seen now is how Najib reacts to the verdict delivered by the “Walk for Democracy”. His actions so far have been nothing but a let down.

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Saturday, 16 July 2011 - 1:12 pm

    I believe it is CHANCE for some UMNO people to kick out Najib and his cousins using Bersih cracking down as an excuse. Afterall this is about politics and just do it. Please get rid of them now. If not, when will be your next chance? They will stay on at ANY COST

  2. #2 by Taxidriver on Saturday, 16 July 2011 - 1:37 pm

    1600 ‘criminals’ arrested by Malaysian police in a matter of 3 hours! This is going to frighten away big numbers of tourists. Tourism minister should sound out the police for its negative portrayal of Malaysia.

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