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Dr M’s daughter slams crackdown

 | July 4, 2011

Marina Mahathir says the action taken by the authorities was similar to that used by third-world dictators.

PETALING JAYA: Marina Mahathir, the daughter of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad – who had little tolerance for dissenting voices – criticised the clampdown on Bersih 2.0 supporters.

Speaking on behalf of Sisters In Islam, one of the 62 NGOs that form the Bersih coalition, she said the action taken by the authorities was similar to that used by third-world dictators.

“Only those in fear would resort to such things… we are behaving like a third world country or less,” she told a packed press conference here, flanked by several representatives from Bersih.

More than 150 people were detained, mostly for wearing yellow T- shirts with the word “Bersih” in connection with the polls watchdog’s planned rally on July 9.

Opposition leaders, some of whom had been hauled up for questioning for backing Bersih’s call for a rally to demand electoral reforms, said the mass arrests was one of the harshest crackdowns in the country’s political history.

Marina said the government’s crackdown was not reflective of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s efforts to transform Malaysia into a developed country.

“We are a developing country, we should behave like one and rise above (all this) and have some faith in our people,” she said.

Marina also condemned the personal attacks on Bersih chairperson S Ambiga, whom she praised for having an excellent track record in fighting for human rights.

“The personal attacks are unwarranted. They should use better arguments to resolve the issue and not resort to personal attacks,” she said.

Najib had called Ambiga, the former Bar Council president, a stooge of Pakatan Rakyat.

Marina’s stand on this issue ran contrary to her father’s position. The latter had echoed Najib’s accusation that the planned rally was not to demand electoral reforms but to create another “political tsunami” to wrest power.

At the press conference today, Bersih representatives denied that the rally had any hidden political agendas and reiterated that it would be peaceful.

They also called on the authorities to find an amicable solution without calling off the rally.


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