Thursday, April 26, 2012

Déjà vu BERSIH 3.0

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall has ordered the closure of Dataran Merdeka 48 hours prior to the sit-in assembly of BERSIH 3.0 which is demanding for the reformation of the electoral process to ensure a fair and free election BEFORE the upcoming 13th general election takes place, which will be any time between now and April 2013. Although the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 has come into force the right of such assemblies is ironically denied when what the authorities need to do is ensure security control of the participants.

It has been 10 months since BERSIH 2.0 took place on 9 July 2011 during which the police had been shown to have applied force and violence to disperse the crowds. In this age of instant broadcast over YouTube and twittering it is impossible to conceal evidence. The authorities had mismanaged a simple event by allowing it to get out of control and forcing the government to defend its position. It appear they have not learned the lesson at all.

Upon the announcement by the organizers to hold a peaceful assembly at the Dataran Merdeka 3 weeks ago, negotiations must be held immediately to come to a compromise rather than wait till the eleventh hour. Didn't this remind you of the offer by Najib Razak to use a stadium to congregate AFTER the chairperson of BERSIH 2.0 Ambiga successfully sought an audience with the King? And when BERSIH 2.0 chose Stadium Merdeka the government dilly dallied till the eleventh hour and then refused giving the permit and counter offer another stadium?

This time the venue has changed but the participants will make a bee line there with or without police barricades. Likely scenes:

People will park wherever they can outside the cordoned zone and WALK to the Dataran.
People will take train and commuters to the nearest stations and WALK to the Dataran, many with families, and wearing yellow, defying the hot afternoon sun or possible rain, wearing hats, armed with umbrellas and holding bottled water, some may even pocket some salt just in case they are needed to clean off chemical laced water.
Although it is planned to be a peaceful protest in such a situation anything goes, and pockets of shouting matches with the police will happen and some may get out of control leading to possible injuries.
The international press will be waiting to document the event and within hours or even minutes the world will know what happens this Saturday afternoon.
In all likelihood there will be arrests and we will all get to see video broadcasts on YouTube.

I can't be there even if I want to. I am in the United States following its development. And I won't be surprised if BERSIH 3.0 will be a repeat of BERSIH 2.0 minus the water cannons and tear gas. Still an unsavory event in our national history in which the people has begun to tell off the government. Will we get to see a BERSIH 4.0 before the election? It depends on who dictates the rule of our nation, the people or the present government.

As usual the prime minister Najib Razak is making himself conveniently invisible, perhaps hiding behind a closet waiting and watching when it is best to come out? This is so typical of him.

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