Minister in the PM's Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz, draws a parallel to the Arab Spring where mobile phones were used to garner support to kick out leaders.
He said this to Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang during a question and answer session at Parliament today.
Earlier, Nazri told the Dewan Rakyat that Bersih 3.0 was an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government as what was done in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
“They (Bersih 3.0 organisers) chose Dataran Merdeka to gather due to its historical significance despite being offered the Stadium Merdeka to hold the rally,” said Nazri.
Later, Lim stood up and accused Nazri of making baseless accusations and urged him to retract his statement.
“How can mineral water bottles and packets of salt be used to overthrow our government?” asked Lim.
Nazri pointed out that in the Arab Spring, the people only used mobile phones to garner support and kick out their unpopular leaders.
“Don’t underestimate salt and mineral water bottles,” he said
On April 28, tens of thousands marched at the nation’s capital to demand for free and fair elections.
However, the rally turned violent after several protesters breached a police barricade near Dataran Merdeka resulting participants and journalists being assaulted by the police.
Nazri said that the violence that happened in Bersih 3.0 was caused by the latter’s stubborn decision to march to Dataran Merdeka despite being offered alternative venues.
“So when the violence happened, they can accuse that the Malaysian authorities are bad,” he said.
The minister added that the government was committed to conducting free and fair elections in the country and its sincerity was proven through the formation of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms last year.
“The government will never use unconstitutional means to remain in power,” said Nazri.
Lim: The secret is out
In a press statement issued later, Lim said that Nazri’s response in parliament showed that the government had no evidence at all to back its claims that the Bersih rally was a coup attempt by Pakatan to topple government.
Instead, he said, what was evident was that the Najib government was afraid of “salt and water bottles” for fear of having lost support of the people.
“Nazri could not give even an iota of evidence to substantiate Najib’s allegation and went completely off tangent into a tirade against Bersih 3.0 and Pakatan Rakyat,” said Lim.
“The secret is now out – the prime minister and the others have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back the wild and reckless allegation that Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup attempt to topple the government by force, but the Najib government is mortally afraid of salt and water bottles because they can topple governments which have lost support of the people,” he added.
The veteran DAP parliamentarian said that the challenge to Najib was to find out why he was losing rather than gaining popular support despite “all the big talk of transformations in various aspects of national life in the past three years”.