The Bersih 4 overnight rally on August 29 and 30 was a credit to both the organisers and participants on the one hand and the police on tother, for it showed to the world that peaceful assemblies numbering some 500,000 people in three venues, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu for two days could be held peacefully in exercise of the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians.
But it is shocking and outrageous that after Bersih 4, there are irresponsible people who are distorting a non-racial Bersih 4 rally into a Chinese rally and challenge to Malay political power and are calling for a “Malay rally to counter the purported “Chinese Bersih demonstration” in Kualal Lumpur on Sept. 16.
In the first place, there had never been a “Chinese Bersih demonstration”, as the Bersih 4 participants were Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, age, gender or politics, and although the Malay participation in the first day of Bersih 4 was low, on the second day, Malay participation was easily some 40% of the crowd.
Furthermore, the participants were not only from all races, their demands for a good government and free and fair elections transcend race altogether.
If there is a group calling for a “Chinese rally to counter the Malays”, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi would have swung into action, both by word and deed, and those organising such a “Chinese rally to counter the Malays” would end up, and rightly so, in police custody.
Why then are those irresponsible elements inciting a Malay rally to counter the purported “Chinese Bersih demonstration” given the impunity and liberty to create racial strife, distrust and hatred in the country?
Yesterday, the police offered monetary rewards to those who can give information leading to the arrest of several Bersih 4 rally-goers who stomped on a poster which had images of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
DAP has deplored the actions of those who stomped on the poster with the images of Najib and Hadi as this is not the politics or culture we want to nurture in Malaysia – as the political culture DAP wants to see is one of civility and tolerance despite differences of opinion.
Those who had stomped on the images of Najib and Hadi were wrong and should apologise for their actions, but why is the Police giving higher priority to such wrong and misguided conduct as compared to criminal acts like inciting racial hatred and strife as launching a Malay rally against the Chinese, by falsely accusing that Bersih 4 rally as a Chinese demonstration?
I call on the Home Minister and the IGP to take strong action against anyone trying provoke or foment racial strife in plural Malaysian like the so-called September 16 Incident.
(Media Conference Statement in Gelang Patah on Saturday, 5th September 2015 at 2.30 pm)