Archive for May 2nd, 2012

Bersih 3.0: Public order and preservation

— Maj (Rtd) Lee Kong Kok
The Malaysian Insider
May 02, 2012

MAY 2 — I was prompted to write this article after being on the ground and reading the many reports of how a carnival-like rally turned so ugly.

I’m a retired Army officer having served 27 years. A day before Bersih 3.0, I e-mailed my ‘squad mates’ that I would be participating in the rally and cheekily ended by saying I planned to see first-hand POPO (Public Order and Preservation Ordnance) in action. The Army has an obligation to assist the Police under POPO should they ask the Army to step in. Hence, during my time, we spend a great deal of time practising POPO drills and I was deployed on two occasions on such duties.

I can re-collect vividly some of the key principles of POPO (I may have missed out a few):

1. Minimum Force. Simply put, you don’t use a sledgehammer to kill a fly;

2. Warnings. Give ample three warnings to the crowd to disperse otherwise force will be taken;

3. Identify the ringleaders. We go after the ringleaders to restore public order;

4. Dispersal avenue. Ensure the incident location has avenues for the protesters to disperse; Read the rest of this entry »


When 70 & 80 year old people march…

(A personal account of husband and wife in their 70’s and 80’s participating in Bersih 3.0 and were tear gassed by the police)

Good, Bad and Ugly of Bersih 3

Tired, sleepy and aching all over, but have to write this down to get it out of the mind and system before I can sleep. So here is my account of Bersih 3 written at 11pm on 28 April 2012.

As law-abiding and not terribly brave senior citizens, we had opted out of Bersih 2 when it was banned, pronounced illegal, KL on lockdown etc. This time, like so many others, we decided we had to show our support for clean and fair elections. Needless to say we did not expect trouble, but prepared for it nevertheless – salt, wet towel etc in a backpack. We were confident the crowd would be disciplined and the police restrained after the debacle of Bersih 2.

At 10.30 am my husband and I caught the LRT to Pasar Seni. Packed train and the crowd chatty and friendly. From Pasar Seni at about 11am we strolled past the Central Market then along the embankment and down Tun Perak. Crowds gathering everywhere, standing around or sitting on kerbs along the road. We made our way through a very dense crowd near the corner of Tun Perak and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to find a place where we could sit that was raised a little above ground. [At 70 and husband almost 80, if we had tried to sit on the road or kerb we would have had great difficulty getting up again!].

Anyway, we found the ideal place. Three steps, then the pool of water below the water feature against a wall. Mostly occupied, but people made room for us. Standing on the second step we could see quite a bit. Could also sit on that step. One row of people behind us on the third step. It was cool and under shade. The perfect spot. Read the rest of this entry »


A Bersih story

By Harris Nasril
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

MAY 1 — Where shall I start? From the beginning? The ending? The conclusion? Everyone has their side of the story and mine is just a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Maybe in the end, the jigsaw puzzle will be solved by somebody. Clean and neat.

I received a call from my brother, Ikbal at 5.30 am.

“I think we should move now. People are gathering. I heard it is more than ten thousand people now in Dataran!” he said.

“Fetch me at 6am. I need to take a bath and pray my Subuh first,” I replied.

I had not even finished a cup Milo for breakfast, when my brother arrived. I told him, I need to pray first, and I told him to wait for me.

“No time! You can pray at Kelana Jaya LRT station. I heard they will close down the LRT station!”.

We then reached Kelana Jaya LRT station around 6.45am. After Ikbal parked his car, we saw one young Chinese guy wearing the Bersih yellow T-Shirt. ” Look at that Chinese guy. He is not afraid ofwearing yellow. Why we are?” I asked my brothers.

“Hahaha, that is because he is not ‘penakut’ like us!” my brothers replied.

We then took the escalator and were very much surprised to see so many peoples in yellow shirts in the LRT station! ” Read the rest of this entry »


Seeing red after the smoke clears

By Sheila Santharamohana
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

MAY 1 — Last year at Bersih 2.0, I walked with friends for free and fair elections. This year, truthfully, I walked because I had had enough. The perpetual litany of lies, scandals and deceit by the present government which had become more conniving, arrogant and imperious was just too much to bear. Have they even tried to reform or do they take Malaysians for fools?

All my life, I was told to lead an honest, law-abiding and productive existence because this was how I contributed to society and my family. But this time, post Bersih 2.0 leading up to 3.0, I knew that it was no longer about just free and fair elections but more, even more than the 8 demands. So I joined in when the chants became political. So what? Sue me for being disillusioned.

As we drove into town the night before, I was tense. Last year, after being crushed in front of Maybank and cornered in Tung Shin, I came prepared for war. We took a convoluted route towards town because I was convinced the police would have locked the city down. The smooth traffic and apparent lack of police presence was unnerving but reassuring. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Police became brutal after hearing rumours’

By Koh Jun Lin | May 2, 2012

The police brutally beat up Bersih 3.0 rally protesters last Saturday after hearing rumours that one of their colleagues had been killed by the rally participants.

“The policeman beat me endlessly and said, ‘Oh, so you are the gangsters… because of you one of my friends has died,'” rally participant and police abuse victim Mohd Syafiq Shamsudin said in an interview at the Malaysiakini office on Monday.

Syafiq (left) said he and a friend, Munir Maktar, were among many yellow-clad protesters crowding the Bandaraya LRT station at 7pm last Saturday, waiting to go home.

Although they had purchased their tickets and were queueing to enter the platform, police suddenly came and pulled them away.

“Some managed to enter the platform and into the LRT coaches. Some couldn’t get into the station and they were all taken away. The police did not dare to enter the LRT station. Those sitting outside were blocked and pulled away, while those taking pictures had their cameras confiscated,” he said.
Read the rest of this entry »


Taking sides

By Clarice CP
The Malaysian Insider
May 02, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — I have a confession to make. I wasn’t sure whether I should attend Bersih 3.0 Rally until the day itself. My stand for a clean election has never changed but I kept changing my mind over attending the rally itself due to work and safety concerns. A friend upon knowing that said, the country’s doom is approaching and you are still worried about work? Of course, he put it in a cruder manner. Well, I thought, when theTitanic was sinking the musicians kept playing and that was actually one of the very few scenes in the film that moved me. But it’s too early to give up on our country, I told myself. I am not a supporter of any political party, organisation or individual. But I am a big fan of fairness and justice.

So I went with friends. We boarded a train and as soon as we disembarked at Pasar Seni we could already see the mass crowds. We joined them and sat on the ground under the hot sun. Later we started walking and when we reached somewhere in front of Reggae Mansion we could walk no further. We sat on the road chanting, singing, playing with balloons, snapping pictures. It was so peaceful and the atmosphere was indeed joyful. Ironic it may sound but perhaps it was because we were all enjoying the freedom of assembly and liberty that was not tasted for long.

In fact, I have never felt so safe and secured while walking around in KL. It was probably because I knew I was with the people who share the same belief as mine: We are against violence. We hold firm to the idea of democracy and view elections as the vital and sole legitimate way for the population to make decisions on public offices. Thus we demand clean elections so as to ensure the true will of the people to be accurately reflected. Fair rules and unbiased umpires will benefit all game players, as simple as this. Play fairly, that’s the rule we were told since we were kids. Read the rest of this entry »

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Police car crash victim speaks out

By Kow Gah Chie | May 2, 2012

Coming out to admit that he is one of the four Bersih 3.0 rally protesters a police car crashed into outside the Sogo shopping complex on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman last Saturday, Su Kuang Hong said he was doing so to clear the air on the matter.

He was coming forward, Su said, because of the efforts by the police to paint the crowd as an angry mob of rioters and to refute the inspector-general of police (IGP) Ismail Omar’s statement that there was no one pinned underneath the police car after the crash.

“I was hit by a Proton Waja police car,” said Su, 25, who is warded at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

He claimed he was hit at the back and the impact threw him on to the bonnet of the car, which continued to move and its sudden stop soon after sent him crashing against a wall in front of Sogo.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Jangan lawan polis!

By Eddie Tuen
The Malaysian Insider
May 02, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 —”Jangan Lawan Polis!” I screamed out at the crowd as a Chinese polis officer flanked by two outriders rode down Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in front of Sogo. The time was close to 3:45pm.

Moments before, I had watched in dismay as BERSIH rally goers threw mineral water bottles at a patrol car and then at an outrider who had driven recklessly through the crowd.

Why were they driving through the hostile crowd which had been bombed with tear gas, drenched in chemically laced water and chased all the way down from Dataran Merdeka up to Sogo at high speed? Was there anything urgent that messages could not be passed through the radio? Was there a VIP needing to be delivered to the other side of town that requires dangerously driving through a crowd? Or, was it for the video cameras? To paint a picture of a rowdy crowd bent on creating havoc?

I cannot blame some of the crowd for doing what they did. They were angry, they had been betrayed. The polis were supposed to protect us and ensure order, but we found ourselves being attacked and hunted down like wild animals.

I joined the rally on the 28th of April 2012 to support the cause for free and fair elections, as well as to protest against the setting up of the massive rare Earth plant in Kuantan. I wore both the green of Himpunan Hijau and the yellow underneath of Bersih 3.0. I removed the green and revealed the yellow when I reached the outskirts of Dataran, a green ribbon around my neck.

I am a professional, an engineer, a tax payer, a registered voter and a Malaysian citizen. I did not join the rally to ‘lawan polis’. Far from it, I expected a peaceful sit in ending with everyone standing up at 4:00pm singing to our national anthem, ‘Negaraku’. Read the rest of this entry »

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My experience of 428, trapped by the FRU

By Sean Chin
The Malaysian Insider
May 02, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Two friends and I arrived at Masjid Jamek around 11am on April 28.

We, like hundreds of others already there, were there for the BERSIH 3.0 gathering scheduled at 2pm around Dataran Merdeka.

The atmosphere at the time was relaxed, lively and not at all tense, even with the presence of several dozen uniformed police officers and a few police trucks.

People from all walks of life were walking about, carrying signs and wearing costumes related to the demand for free and fair elections.

McDonalds, Burger King, as well as road side vendors were doing brisk business. This proves that the resilient few did not let a peaceful protest hamper their livelihoods; they find solutions.

Around 12pm, groups of people from all directions started streaming into Jalan Tun Perak, and marched towards Jalan Raja.

There were representatives from various states, the anti-Lynas Himpunan Hijau group, and even the anti-Pengerang Deep Water Terminal project group came with their “Lobster man”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Police rampage at Bersih 3.0 with excessive and indiscriminate use of police force would not have happened if Dzaiddin Police RC Report on world-class police service had been fully accepted and internalized in past seven years

“428” will go down in Malaysian history as one of the national milestones in the long and arduous struggle of Malaysians to reclaim their democratic, constitutional and human rights promised them when the country achieved Merdeka 54 years ago.

The other recent landmarks of this struggle are:

Firstly, Bersih rally on November 10, 2007 (“1011”) bringing out 40,000 Malaysians in support for electoral reforms.

Secondly, the “Political tsunami” of March 8, 2008 general elections (“308”) which cut down the mighty Barisan Nasional down to size, winning five state governments for Pakatan Rakyat and depriving BN of its two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Thirdly, Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9, 2011 (“709”) with 50,000 Malaysians braving threats and intimidation, including mass arrests, city lockdown and campaign of demonization against the organizers and participants, in support for clean, free and fair elections.

Fourthly, Bersih 3.0 “sit-in” on April 28 (“428”) with the largest turn-out in the nation’s history – estimated between 200,000 to 300,000 in Kuala Lumpur – with Malaysians regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, region, age or gender uniting in a common cause for clean, free and fair elections.
Read the rest of this entry »


Putrajaya moves to soothe journalists

May 1, 2012

Putrajaya has moved to soothe relations with news organisations following the aftermath of the Bersih 3.0 rally, where the police were accused of injuring at least a dozen journalists.

It is learned that Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Koh Tsu Koon, got the ball rolling during a meeting with editors from several Chinese dailies today.

Also present at the meeting were Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s Chinese affairs assistant Wong Nai Chee and press secretary Joan Lai.

During the meeting, at a restaurant in Petaling Jaya, editors were asked to share their views on Bersih 3.0 and comment on the alleged high-handedness of the police against journalists.

Meanwhile, all major news organisations will be meeting police representatives at a meeting at Bukit Aman national police headquarters tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »


Analysing Bersih 3.0

— Malaysian in the US
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

MAY 1 — Bersih 3.0 has come and gone. The protests outside KL were peaceful — 11 other cities in Malaysia, 85 cities in 33 countries outside Malaysia, including hikers up Mount Everest and divers off Acheh. Numbers ranged from a handful of Malaysians in some countries like Austria and Sri Lanka, to over a thousand in cities like London and Melbourne, to ten thousand in Penang.

The negatives. Many conspiracy theories abound as to how Dataran Merdeka was breached — was it just a group of unruly protesters, were the protesters instigated by the opposition, were the protesters planted by the government, were the police ordered to allow the protesters in? Whatever the case, once that happened, the police took that as an excuse to fire tear gas and spray chemical-laced water into the crowds, even those who were peacefully dispersing.

The trains stopped running at that point, effectively barring people from joining the protest and from leaving it. Again, where did those orders come from?

There was an ugly incident with protesters attacking a police car which then ran over some people. Was it staged? It’s understood that the police car was later overturned because the crowd believed that there was a person trapped under it. That single episode, taken out of context, has been used to depict the protest as unruly.

The negatives which help Bersih’s cause. The police chased, beat up, and arrested protesters and journalists. A bit stupid, really, with media and technology the way it is today. An Australian senator was in the crowd and got tear-gassed. Local and international journalists got their cameras smashed and their memory cards confiscated. The breach of Dataran Merdeka in no way justifies the level of police brutality. The government has shown itself to be “kejam” and “zalim,” in the words of many participants of Bersih 3.0.

The positives. Up until the breach, it was very, very peaceful. The photos of the sea of people in yellow are inspiring. The crowd was intergenerational, multiracial … people in wheelchairs were even sighted. This show of solidarity gives us hope for a new future. Read the rest of this entry »


Many people failed Malaysia on Saturday

— A Malaysian
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

MAY 1 — Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail, the Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur, failed us when he forgot that he was a public servant and instead, became a servant of the ruling party of the day.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein failed us when, even after the experience of Bersih 2.0, he oversaw, as Home Minister, the unnecessary violence wreaked on an almost wholly peaceful gathering of citizens who merely were out to state their concerns over what they see as a flawed electoral process. And to rub salt into the wound, in the aftermath, Hishammuddin sought to justify the unwarranted violence.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak failed us when as Prime Minister of all Malaysians — regardless whether they support him or not — he uttered not a squeak to ensure his flock (and as citizens, we are his flock) were facilitated in gathering peacefully to voice their concerns.

The mainstream newspapers — The Star, the New Straits Times, Berita
Harian and, but of course, Utusan Malaysia — failed us yet again when they sought to justify the wrongs and entrenched their position as propagandists rather than the chroniclers of truth that they are supposed to be.

And while the police and the ruling party may want us to believe that the organisers of Bersih 3.0 also failed us, I disagree because everything that Fuad and the authorities did to prevent their citizens from gathering at Dataran Merdeka, I believe, was a formula to encourage a few hotheads to breach the barriers and they got what they wished for — an excuse to blame the organisers. Read the rest of this entry »


My father’s Bersih 3.0 story

— Proud daughter
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2012

MAY 1 —I know there have been so many personal accounts of experiences from people present at the recent BERSIH 3.0 rally on 28 April. I’ve read many of them. But this could probably be the only account you read from someone who didn’t go, but was present only vicariously through my father whom i would’ve counted as the last person to participate in such gatherings.

While the BERSIH 3.0 rally ended at 5.30pm on 28 April for most, it was then that it begun for me when my mom sent me a message – “Papa went for BERSIH”. I almost couldn’t believe it. My dad? The man who doesn’t like strangers and crowds? The man who doesn’t like waiting for anything? The man who doesn’t like travelling further than 5km from his home for no good reason? The man who really doesn’t like it when things are beyond his control?

Too many thoughts and questions buzzed through my mind in the first 60 seconds after I got the news. Who did he go with? How did he get there? What time did he go? In which part of the city or gathering was he in? Did anyone watch out for him? But one question that kept playing back over and over was ‘WHY did he go?’.

It was hard to get all the answers as my dad doesn’t communicate much. Read the rest of this entry »

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They Were All Yellow – My Bersih 3.0 Story (daughter of retired FRU officer)

blog -Welcome to my complicated world
Monday, April 30, 2012

”For you I’ll bleed myself dry” – Yellow by Coldplay
Morning of 428. That was the song that was stuck in my head as I got
ready to attend Bersih 3.0 rally. I put on my yellow t-shirt and sang
”oh yeah, they were all yellow”.

I wasn’t there last year. When I read my friends’ accounts of Bersih
2.0 and watched the video footage, I cried. I had my reasons not to be
there and it was not because I didn’t agree with the cause. So as I
watched my friends and fellow countrymen got treated like pariah dogs
running away from dog catchers, I died a little inside. There was one
voice in particular, from the numerous videos posted, that still
haunts me till today. A young lady crying out to the police, ”Is this
what you stand for?! That you would hurt your own people?” Her voice
was used in one of the Bersih 3.0 ‘trailers’. And the anguish in her
voice echoed many of our sentiments. I on the other hand wanted to
shout back (into the monitor nonetheless) ”That is not true!” Because
if it is, my whole childhood would have been a lie. Let me explain. Read the rest of this entry »


Bar Council: Police brutality worsens in Bersih 3.0

Nigel Aw | May 1, 2012

The Malaysian Bar Council in its interim report today said police brutality against protesters during Bersih 3.0 last Saturday had worsened despite several police shortcomings that were highlighted during the last Bersih rally.

“Of all the problems that were highlighted last year, as far as the use of force is concerned, this year it has magnified.

“So far as police brutality goes, we have observed more police brutality (this time), so far as indiscriminate and arbitrary use of water cannon and tear gas, our observers saw far more (instances),” said Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee.

The interim report is a preliminary compilation of reports from 78 of the council’s volunteer observers positioned at six locations on the ground during Bersih 3.0 on April 28.

Among the observations made by the Bar Council were:

•Rally was peaceful until around 3pm when police fired teargas and water cannon.

• Use of force by police without any obvious provocation or cause, was far worse, indiscriminate, disproportionate and excessive. Read the rest of this entry »