As news and video-footage of the disruption of the Penang Stop Lynas gathering goes viral, fence-sitting Malaysians will understand why they must help to bring about the change this country needs, writes Ms Batik.
As was seen from the fracas at the Penang Himpunan Hijau 2.0 rally at Speakers’ Square on Sunday, 26 February, uncouth behaviour, thuggery and violence were the modus operandi of a group hell-bent on disruption.
Eyewitness accounts and video clips clearly show this group was not interested in rational discussion or debate but went all out to create a ruckus, exhibited bullying behaviour and were disrespectful, vulgar and violent. From the shouts of this group, it was clear to which political party they were being loyal.
This incident is just the most recent in what can now be described as a pattern of disruption and intimidation involving a group of belligerent and more recently, violent hecklers (often on motorcycles which are revved to increase the noise levels and used as an added tool of intimidation).
And glaringly noticeable is the apparent lack of police intervention, despite their presence, against those causing the ruckus. Instead it is those who have gathered peacefully who are asked disperse.
This form of disruption and intimidation had been seen at an anti-ISA gathering in Penang, at the Abu-Hindraf forum in Klang, at a PKR ceramah in Gambang and so on.
The inane excuses from the police and the lack of condemnation of this type of behaviour by members of the ruling party (for which these thugs are said to have affinity) show tacit approval, if not outright sanction of thuggery against those who hold different views and are deemed a threat to the ruling party. It is simply irresponsible, dangerous and totally unacceptable.
With the general election around the corner, a chance for change is once again possible. Incidents like this will help people decide how to cast their vote. As the story about this incident and accompanying video footage goes viral, fence-sitting Malaysians living locally and abroad will understand why they must help to bring about the change this country needs.
Every vote counts towards making this change. Let your vote be one against such thuggery. Vote for change.
Ms Batik is the pseudonym of an occasional contributor to Thinking Allowed Online