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Dataran Merdeka – who owns it?

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The powers-that-be must get it into their thick heads that the whole country, every inch of it, belongs to the people, asserts Tota.

Independence Square in KL - Photo credit: Wikipedia

Over the years the Umno-dominated BN has played real dirty when it comes to the Opposition and the NGOs using public places for their activities. Many years ago, to deny the DAP the Esplanade for its rally, the Koh Tsu Koon administration dumped red earth on the field under the pretext of upgrading or repairing the lawn. Quite recently, a stockade was built round the public field in Kuantan to deny Himpunan Hijau a rallying point.

The way Najib and his ministers talk they give the impression that everything belongs to Umno. Najib has given the impression that Putrajaya belongs to Umno and they would defend Putrajaya from falling into the hands of the Opposition even if there were “crushed bodies” – implicitly condoning violence! When Najib talked about “crushed bodies” he was not talking about his own body or that of his wife’s very large body, but of innocent people’s bodies!

Before Bersih 3.0, Nazri aka “Defecto” Law Minister said that Dataran Merdeka belongs to City Hall aka Umno Hall. Emboldened by this, the Mayor’s utterances and attitude was nothing short of disgraceful. When the Mayor is not elected but appointed by the powers-that-be, they choose, at best, a ‘yes man; and, at worst, a boot-licker. Such a person has no legitimacy in the post. It is obvious he draws inspiration from the despicable arrogance shown by Nazri aka “Defecto” Law Minister and our hopeless Home Minister, Hishammuddin.

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In 1965, I participated in a huge Anti-Nuclear Proliferation march in London. It was reported that more than 200,000 people participated – young, old, people in wheelchairs, people in crutches, mothers with babies in their arms. The elected Mayor of London, a highly educated, cultured and civilised man, very respectful of civil rights and liberties had got the Metropolitan Police to close certain roads to traffic to enable the marches to proceed unhindered. Unarmed police, stationed every few hundred metres, helped the marchers to move peacefully and in an orderly manner.

What a difference KL was during Bersih 3.0 – razor wire barricades, tear gas, water cannons shooting chemical-laced water at unarmed people demanding free and fair elections!

The powers-that-be must get it into their thick heads that the whole country, every inch of it, belongs to the people. All public places must be made available to people for their activities. This is a must in a participatory democracy.

The Mayor’s contention that only national events can be held at Dataran Merdeka is a big fat lie. Below are six events, which cannot be considered national events by any stretch of the imagination, held at Dataran Merdeka:

Date and event
20 July 2011 – Olympic Day Fun Run
20 Oct 2011 – OCBC Cycle Malaysia
20 Dec 2011 – Archilles Formula Drift Malaysia
20 Feb 2012 – BN Youth Ride Fest
20 Mar 2012 – World Kidney Day Run
27 May 2012 – Najib and Rosmah making teh-tarik with petty traders

Dear Mayor, you can’t fool all the people all the time. When People Power starts rolling nothing – tear gas, water cannons or even AK47s – will be able to stop it! And when that happens the oppressors like you will become “duli” under the feet of People Power.

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Tota is the pseudonym of an occasional contributor to Thinking Allowed Online

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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