Lim Kit Siang says the home minister would have jailed his grandfather Onn Jaafar for holding rallies during the pre-independence period.
“I would like to ask Hishammuddin would his grandfather be allowed to hold gatherings in Malaya (during the pre-independence period)?” he asked.
In 1946, Hishamuddin’s grandfather Onn Jaafar, along with many Malay leaders at the time, had rallied against the colonial government’s Malayan Union concept.
“If Hishammuddin had been there, he would have put his grandfather in jail,” Lim told reporters in Parliament.
Bersih 2.0, which is to hold its “Walk for Democracy” on July 9 to push for electoral reforms, had been denied a police permit, with the home minister warning of stern action against those who flout the law.
Commenting on the SMS death threat received by Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga, Lim claimed that the government was not serious in handling recent extremist actions.
“Those in authority have been closing their eyes to such extremism.
“If they have taken proper steps to ensure that moderates can have their rightful place in the country, and clamp down on such extremism, the country will not be in the sorry state that it is today,” he said.
Lim was also disappointed with Hishammuddin for grouping Bersih with Malay supremacist group Perkasa.
He said that Perkasa, unlike Bersih or Umno Youth, who were marching for their own reasons on the same date, did not intend to hold a peaceful rally or gather to usher democratic changes.
Anwar calls it ‘deplorable’
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim also condemned the death threat made against Ambiga.
“It is deplorable to imagine in this civilised state and date, that this continues unabated. The same perpetrators of such extremist (and) racist (acts) are tolerated, and are in some ways condoned,” the PKR supremo told reporters in Parliament.
Anwar said the threat sent to Ambiga was similar to what his daughter, Nurul Izzah, received last month.
Nurul, who is PKR vice-president and Lembah Pantai MP, received a SMS from an anonymous individual threatening to kidnap her three-year-old daughter.
“We are clearly disgusted. But what is worse, is (…) the system seeks to condone, allow and publicise this,” Anwar said.
In the SMS, an unknown sender told Ambiga that “his people” would kill Bersih 2.0 organisers and the politicians who supported the election watchdog if its July 9 “Walk for Democracy” took place.
Despite the threat, Bersih leaders vowed to forge ahead with their plans.
Hishammuddin said he viewed the death threat seriously, and promised to take action against the perpetrators.
Pursuit of justice
PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub meanwhile told FMT that he hoped the police would conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.
Salahuddin revealed that even some PAS leaders received the threatening SMS.
“We have discussed the matter in our central committee meeting. Our top leaders and members will all be there at the rally – that includes our spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat and president Hadi Awang,” he said when contacted.
PAS had previously said that it will mobilise around 100,000 of its supporters for the rally. However in the latest development, party president Hadi was quoted by party mouthpiece Harakah Daily in ordering all its one million party members to join the rally.
Asked if the allegation made in the SMS regarding Ambiga trying to divide the Malay society, Salahuddin rubbished the claim by saying: “Bersih is more than race politics, it is about the pursuit of democracy and fairness.”
MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong also condemned the death threat, saying that it was not an appropriate means of action in a civilized society.
Wee, who has said that MCA will not join Umno Youth in its march come July 9, added that one should follow the law and order to voice their concerns instead of using such threats.
“We live n a civil society, whether or not we agree or disagree, we should express that in accordance to the law,” the Ayer Hitam MP told FMT.
PKR’s R Sivarasa who played an influential role during the first Bersih gathering on November 2007 called the threat “politically motivated”.
“Death threats are not new. But with the first Bersih we didn’t face any death threats but faced other similar threats like being put in jail and so on,” he said.