Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says “Bersih” is still illegal. What about “Kotor”, wonders Curi-cuci Malaysia.
Prior to the announcement that the Bersih 2.0 event on 9 July 2011 would be held in a stadium, Home Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein and the police had issued warnings to the ‘rakyat’ not to join the coalition’s “Walk for Democracy” calling for free and fair elections.
The authorities arrested close to 200 peaceful demonstrators including opposition members of parliament, state assembly members, NGO volunteers and members, as well as some children as young as seven years old.
The offices and premises of some NGOs were raided; the Penang Suaram office was broken into by unknown persons, then Bersih’s secretariat in Petaling Jaya was raided by the police. Nothing seems to have been taken from the Penang Suaram office; instead a trail of broken locks and damaged doors was found. The police raided Bersih’s office, without a warrant, and carted away a number of T-shirts, pamphlets, posters, banners and computers. The mainstream media expectedly played up this news, but the exaggeration was too weak to be convincing. The public merely shook their heads at the pettiness of the issue or made cynical jokes about this sandiwara, produced by the Home Ministry in collaboration with Bukit Aman.
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The situation typically reflected the idiom, “making a mountain out of a molehill”. In fact, this production is being viewed by the global community with some amazement (maybe amusement too). Foreign aquaintances even asked Malaysians, “So, your government doesn’t want free and fair elections?” – to which the embarrassing answer is, “Yes – our government does not want free and fair elections”. That’s the truth. One cannot defend the indefensible.
The current administration is living on another planet, probably a long way off somewhere beyond the Milky Way, as we know it. In that imaginary world of theirs, wearing particular coloured clothing with some slogan is an arrestable offence. Holding peaceful rallies and demonstrations is also an arrestable offence, and travelling on a chartered bus with T-shirts, pamphlets and banners is akin to waging war against the king. Even children accompanying parents on their day out can be arrested and detained for distributing pamphlets!
This must be “The World of the Stooges” where Malaysians are kept under a glass coconut shell, away from the rest of the world, but they can see what is happening on the outside through their transparent ‘tempurung’ (coconut shell). We see hundreds and thousands of people in many other countries all over the globe out on the streets protesting and professing their rights.
We know it is happening in Europe, Australia, North Africa, the Middle-East, Latin America and North America, even next door in Asean. But, in most instances, there is no violence until the baton-wielding police move in and start beating up unarmed protesters. What Malaysians find astonishing is that in many peaceful demonstrations in other countries, few police personnel are around and most of those on patrol are merely standing around watching the demonstration go by. The atmosphere is more like a carnival rather than an angry protest.
So, what’s so threatening about going out in large crowds to walk along and sing and chant in unison, dressed in slogan bearing T-shirts or wearing ghoul masks or other kinds of head or face gear. Dancing in the street should also be permitted like in Rio De Janeiro. Have a good shout and some exercise, ending with a good laugh and good-natured presentation of a memorandum to the relevant dignitaries, whom we hope will take the trouble to read it, if they don’t do anything else. If they don’t want to hear us, they’re not listening to the rakyat.
BN supporting ‘Kotor’?
Going back to the point that the BN regime doesn’t agree with ‘Bersih’ (Clean) – does it mean that the current government supports the opposite, which is ‘Kotor’ (Dirty)? Does the current government clearly give full support to unfair and unfree elections? Does it support money-politics, vote buying, registering phantom voters, vote rigging and a completely opaque system where under-handed practices and fraud operate in secrecy minus accountability?
Does it strongly support corrupt practices and cronyism using the MACC as a mere eye-wash for the rakyat and the world at large?
As it stands, the government wields the power to gag democratic voices with the ISA and other such laws in their arsenal that lack humanity or respect for human dignity. Perhaps, they are not human, after all?
When the rakyat is currently facing hardship with spiralling living costs due to increasing global prices of fuel, food and everything else, the powers-that-be deem that subsidies, including oil subsidies, must be removed. Perhaps, they think that the ‘rakyat’ drink petroleum to keep alive. We seem to be morons and robots to them.
Moreover, the Bersih 2.0 “Walk for Democracy” has also attracted the racist group Perkasa, on the ruling party’s side, probably followed by other far right mosquito groups to show how ‘democratic’ they are. Unfortunately, we aren’t so sure that these groups will stick to merely having a nice stroll and shout like those following the “Bersih 2.0 Walk for Democracy”.
Their understanding of ‘democracy’ possibly translates into ‘hooliganism’ or ‘vigilantism’. A juvenile understanding of democracy with guaranteed non-accountability. The intention of these groups is extremely predictable: they are proud of being ‘agent-provocateurs’ in any public gathering and probably support ‘Jijik’ (Foul) more than just ‘Kotor’ (Dirty). It would be very surprising if they proved us wrong.
The New Straits Times (30 June 2011) surprised the public, reporting that the Vice-President of Perkasa suggested that Perkasa should join Bersih! However, Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali was unavailable to confirm this. This surprise still doesn’t dispel any suspicions anyone may have of the motive for making such a statement. Does a leopard change its spots? Nobody could be less serious about this.
The public should ignore the mainstream media news or enjoy the ‘sandiwara’ provided by the government. Don’t swallow any information without examining it first. We, the ‘rakyat’ have to learn to separate the ‘true gold’ from the ‘fools gold’ and relinquish the habit of being too lazy to think. Time to wake up and Cuci-cuci (Wash)!
Cuci-cuci Malaysia is the pseudonym of an Aliran contributor.