Saturday, July 09, 2011

Today, as Bersih Marches

I did not go for the march partly because I am a senior person (defined as anyone above 60) and partly because I have to be at the airport this afternoon. But I want to document my life today as BERSIH marched to show the government that tainted electoral process is unacceptable and must be reformed at all cost.

This morning my family and I went for dimsum breakfast at 9.30am in Seremban town. There was a police roadblock on the opposite side in the direction out of the town into the highway. I thought, "Oh well, why are they blocking those leaving the town, do they think some of the drivers are heading into Kuala Lumpur to join the other supporters knowing well that all entrances into the city has been blocked?"

At 11.30am when we return home we were caught by the same roadblock. It seems the police were instructed by their superiors to inconvenience the public. All they managed to fulfill was stop a few motorcyclists for having expired road tax or driving licences. I thought the whole exercise was malafide, not done rightly but to instill anger and frustrations at the authorities. Why must ordinary citizens have to be inconvenienced for an event about to occur 70 km away?

At 1.30pm we left for Kuala Lumpur International Airport to welcome my brother coming in from Taipeh at 2.15pm. I was happy the police are not putting any road blocks on the highway or the road into the airport. It would be a bad impression to air travelers to and from the airport. BUT when we left the airport at 3.30pm we were caught in a long jam along the road from the airport into Nilai. The reason: a police roadblock. The BERSIH rally in Kuala Lumpur was already in progress and due to end by 4pm. I wonder what is the police trying to do here, on the road not at all heading into Kuala Lumpur? Several cars went into the emergency lane and backed all the way (a dangerous stunt) to the slip road behind to go to their destinations. Another car in front of my car decided to cut across the 5 ft wide road divider between the space of some shrubs to the opposite direction. He must have been very very annoyed and angry. I took it in my stride and soon we reached the police roadblock. One personnel was holding a pump gun, another waved us through as we slowed the car, a few others were at the road side, again checking on some motorcyclists. The drive home thereafter was smooth.

I checked my online news for latest developments and discovered that the rally was partially successful in forming in the Stadium Merdeka and several hotspots along Jalan Pudu. Read HERE. The police also arrested several leaders as reported HERE. One cabinet minister confessed the government shouldn't have blocked BERSIH as reported HERE which caused great harm to the government. The march was marred by one casualty, a death was reported HERE.

The police claimed only about 6000 protesters managed to march and they arrested 1401 of them. A very very good rate of 23% which is of course untrue. BERSIH organizers claimed a much higher number of 50,000. The real number may never be known but certainly significant enough to rock the nation. While the protesters took on the police PM Najib was elsewhere promoting his popularity and down playing the rally.

A serious analysis of the rally suggested that the BN government may lose the next election.

This evening at 7.30pm, long after the BERSIH protesters have ended their crusade at Stadium Merdeka, the roadblock that I saw this morning was still checking vehicles leaving Seremban. I though, "Duh, you guys not listening to the news or what?" Anyway, after our dinner in town we returned home via another route without any roadblocks.

In the latest online news an article HERE reminded us of the first BERSIH rally in 2007 and how it impacted the 12th GE in 2008 that robbed the government of its 2/3 majority in Parliament. Looks like the BN government failed its history test.

Photo Credit: The Malaysian Insider

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