The Bersih 3.0 rally

– Hussaini Abdul Karim
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 28, 2012

APRIl 28 – What caught my attention first the moment I alighted from the LRT train at Pasar Seni at about 1.45pm today was the generally young, enthusiastic and innocent looking crowd of about 100,000 people and all of them spotted a happy look and with a lot of hope in their mind, the same thing I have.

We were walking slowly towards the direction of Dataran Merdeka and I saw thousands of people mostly dressed in Bersih 3.0 T-shirts and with some dressed in green. Along the way was a young man working vigorously handing out free bottles of mineral water. Everyone shouted slogans such as, ‘REFORMASI’, ‘BERSIH’, ‘WE WANT FAIR ELECTIONS’ and so on.

Upon reaching Jalan Lekiu near the Loke Yew Building, there was a police roadblock manned by at least 100 men. That was the closest the crowd, including me, got to Dataran Merdeka. I believe, all the other entrances were similarly blocked and no one could enter Dataran Merdeka.

This time, I notice, the police and the authorities, being very well prepared won hands down.

Bersih 3.0 had no answer for the police preparedness and I was very disappointed with Bersih3.0 organisers for not being prepared and, I believe, took things for granted. First and foremost, there was no communication between the organisers and the people which I thought is something that can be very simply organised.

Just get Bersih 3.0 agents and station them at all the entrances to Dataran Merdeka equipped with walkie-talkies and inform them what to do next. They then can broadcast them or announce them to the crowd in the respective areas. That way, the crowd will know what to do rather than leaving all of them, including me, not knowing at all what’s going to happen. It was a big opportunity that the Bersih 3.0 organisers had wasted. As early as 2.15pm, I saw people leaving already and many headed towards the nearest LRT station.

I left later and at about 2.45pm, I arrived at the Masjid Jamek LRT Station and there was already a large crowd there waiting on either side of the platform. At least five trains arrived on either side of the platform passed but none stopped and the people were getting edgy and uncomfortable and many shouted ‘vulgarities’ every time a train passed but did not stop.

I decided to ask some RAPID KL’s auxiliary policemen on duty there and none of them knew what was happening. When I asked if they any telephone number that I could use to call their supervisors or officers they told me that they didn’t have any. Later, I got a number from one of them who told me I could try to call their operations office. I tried a couple of times but there was no answer. He did not have any other numbers to give me.

After that, one of them told me to go to the station’s office on the top floor and look for a supervisor or an officer to inquire. I did but as soon as I got to that level, I didn’t see any people manning the station. Almost at the same time, someone threw a canister of tear gas which caused a lot of commotion.

Was this planned?

If there was any intention not to allow trains to stop at Masjid Jamek Station, the operator of the LRT should place a notice to prevent people from entering but that was not done and people continued to purchase tickets and the crowd numbers accumulated so much so that the station was full of people, at the top level and at the level where they were to board the trains. It was then that the tear gas was thrown and got people running helter-skelter.

I did not see any reason why the police must do that as there was no violence at all. What the police did was very cruel, at the least, and if that was something that the police had arranged, then, they should be charged for causing hurt to the public.

There were some good Samaritans among the crowd and they had water and salt to offer those who were affected by the tear gas. I was given some to ease the discomfort and pain from the tear gas and surprisingly, it worked.

The Bersih 3.0 rally and the incident at Masjid Jamek LRT Station made many of the people angry and I could see tempers rising and a couple of ‘would-be’ fights but luckily, they were all thwarted by others who did not want to see any violence happening and concerned about maintaining peace.

I finally left at about 3.45pm, disappointed, angry and frustrated.

P.S. There were actually many tear gas canisters thrown at Masjid Jamek by the police and I was one of the people in the crowd who was badly hurt.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 1:12 am

    All this chaos happened because the police protected the ruling regime and not the rakyat.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 2:21 am

    Global Bersih announced in advance that the Sit-in at Dataran Merdeka (DM) on Saturday, April 28, was from 2:00pm until 4:00pm. DM was not allowed by DBKL sanctioned by court order. So Bersih said all were to sit in near or next to Dataran. However when it happened it was Ambiga & then Anwar who announced at about 2.30 pm that event was over and all should disperse. The writer Hussaini reached Pasar Seni at 1.45pm. He was in time. He thought it would last until 4 pm as earlier announced. If it were all over by 2.30pm (a mere ½ hr) what’s the point in him taking the trouble to come ? To sit for ½ hour? Why did Ambiga/Anwar tell supporters to disperse after 2.30pm when earlier announcement said that it was until 4 pm? Can we blame some for not wanting to leave or disperse? The writer is right that “there was no communication between the organisers and the people” – not even of the duration of the sit in or changes in time. Everything is like laissez-faire. Some came as early at 6.30 – 7 am; others even after 2pm!

  3. #3 by monsterball on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 7:11 am

    From Friday afternoon till Saturday 3pm….I see nothing but happy Malaysians with so much purposes in life to contribute towards a free country.
    All smiles and enjoying themselves.
    To me…walking and talking to all the young Malaysians…inviting all to a simple roti chani and tea tarek ..talking and advising them…with their appreciations was an old man’s joy to participate and do something useful.
    I came back….ate an early dinner..had a nice long bath ans slept for 12 hours…..dead tired!!
    Met few blogger friends too.
    It’s nothing but an atmosphere to free the country and people from a dirty government.
    I9 checked in a hotel on Friday in a car and left the area as a pillion rider on a motor bike which I have not ridden for more than 45 years….from Dataran to Subang Jaya.
    That was quite a scary ride home.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 7:29 am

    Do you all know where Najib was?
    He was celebrating attending an arranged gig…in Sarawak….celebrating their Independence and joining Malaysia.
    It’s his ways to avoid embarrassments in K.L.
    You can see 1000 there.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 7:33 am

    Why did Najib and Rosmah go over to attend an event there…when 300,000 Malaysians are on the streets ….protesting?
    Is this not an important issue for a PM to take note?

  6. #6 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 8:46 am

    I tell you its very ominous. While this was going on Najib when to an event and plugged his ‘tranformation’ making false claim of gains of per capita income of 40% in US$ when half of that gain is simply from depreciation of the US$ only..

    The man simply does not have the intellectual capacity to grasp what has happened and will happen. Events have out-pace him. Even his ‘cheat and buy’ election clearly is falling apart. It may not be clear whether UMNO-Perkasa/BN will lose the GE technically, its already clear they will lose substantially. It means that Najib career is over as UMNO will not accept it.

    Clearly, its pointless to call for GE now. Najib must face his party first. The time for reform is now and completely with no compromises. His mantra to his party should now be ‘change or be changed’ and nothing else.

  7. #7 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 8:47 am

    It is a TEST of Will Power of the People against the Power that be that has stayed on for TOO LOOOOOOOOOOOONG! This Power that be thought theirs are the RIGHT to inherit the continuous plundering of this nation! Just look at nazri’s son and his Havana Cigar! This BERSIH 3 surely makes ALL MALAYSIANS except BN’s PROUD and the future of this nation shall be secured! The main media can try to shut out the event but the whole world has witnessed it without any doubt. Let’s see if Pink Lip has the last word or has none!

  8. #8 by Albert Choong on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 9:12 am

    All of us participants and the organizing NGOs were sabotaged by all the mobile phone service providers. Either they were ordered by the mafia govn to stop their service at the crucial time of our rally, or they have very poor bandwidth and no redundant servers. Ha you are making millions from us everyday. Remember customers are king!

    Ha Datuk Najib as PM, You are maybe an ” imbecile or a moron” of the lowest degree as you cannot even talk logically! Maybe you were overcame with fear of losing Putrajaya that you made such a contradictory statement: ” that the govn would allow a peaceful assembly even by the opposition parties at appropriate venue and times.”

    I could vouch that the rally was very peaceful and excellently organized with the demand of ” fair and clean election “. The venue chosen is the most appropriate as the field can accommodate a huge gathering for a SIT-IN assembly, far away from central government offices and commercial businesses. The venue also belongs to all Malaysians, not UMNO baru or your father! The timing was perfect as it was on a weekend and after office hours. Bersih 2.0 taught the 80 NGOs the greatest lesson of their lives: that the BN b government is not truthful, sincere and the greatest autocracy towards its own citizens.
    I’m talking with such a rich learning experience even though I am 69 years old, as I were at the huge gathering that walked peacefully from Brickfield to Pasar Seni with three young girls. After that we walked with the spirit and conviction that we are ” truly Malaysia “! We sang the national song with the greatest pride as true and loyal first Malaysians from all the communities. But we were prevented from going near the Field.
    When word reached us to dismiss at 3.00 pm. we could not do so peacefully as we were cordoned off by the Gestapo police at all the street junctions. Then they fired toxic tear gas into our space, and those of us first timers really felt the toxic effects on our eyes and throats. We were prepared with water, salt and towels for fast reliefs. We really felt that were treated worse than animals, at least they have animal rights! You really robed us of our DIGNITY as True and Loyal Malaysians! I have many photos to show and prove our journey of distasteful experience. But we are filled with higher determination and the spirit to CHANGE or UBAH the 54 year old BN baru government. UBAH! UBAH! UBAH!

  9. #9 by limkamput on Sunday, 29 April 2012 - 1:00 pm

    Sage, now you are talking, but your explanation to me was very different from your explanation to Hussiani. Bersih leaders take for granted the support given by the people. When things went out of control, it was convenient for them to say they have ordered the crowd to disperse earlier. But when you were out there trying to get the “message” across to the government, I don’t think the crowd can be switched on and switched off that easily. If we are too pussycat, let’s be like Burma. Suu Kyi can go on waiting for forever.

You must be logged in to post a comment.