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Stop taking rakyat for granted

 | May 9, 2012

Why is Najib alleging that Bersih 3.0 was all about wanting to dethrone his government?


Whether deliberately or otherwise, the Bersih 3.0 protest has brought to light the insecurity gnawing at the ruling Barisan Nasional government. Otherwise, why the BN “drama” of accusing Bersih 3.0 of a coup d’etat?

The April 28 rally was held for the sake of demanding clean and free elections in this country, not to overthrow the BN government led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Why then is Najib alleging that Bersih 3.0 was all about wanting to dethrone his government?

Point to ponder: Are Malaysians prepared to engage in a coup to get rid of the BN government, which, after five decades of rule, continues with much gay abandon to indulge in cronyism, nepotism and corruption?

Najib is trying desperately to emerge as the rakyat’s saviour. Hence his lying to the people that Bersih 3.0 was a malicious affair. And on May 4, Najib peddled this lie to a crowd of 30,000 people in Gua Musang, Kelantan, claiming that the Bersih 3.0 rally was an attempt to overthrow the BN government which was elected by the people through a democratic system.

“They had the intention to take over Dataran Merdeka, not to gather for two or three hours but for two or three days or even longer, to show that the government cannot control the situation.

“They wanted to make Dataran Merdeka like the Tahrir Square in Egypt.”

Just how did the premier conclude that April 28 was all about turning Dataran Merdeka into a Tahrir Square?

Also, on what basis is the premier accusing the key players of Bersih 3.0 of engaging in a coup to overthrow his government?

Wild accusations will backfire

Najib, who is also BN chief, has lambasted the April 28 rally protesters for not respecting the government of the day, legitimately chosen via a valid process.

Was April 28 all about disrespecting the BN government or was it a day to declare the rakyat’s anger and frustration with the never-ending dirty tricks employed by BN during elections?

Najib’s wild accusation of a “coup” brings with it grave consequences. For one, it reflects the irresponsibility of politicians when it comes to opening their mouth to speak. It also reveals the immaturity of Malaysian politicians in dealing with crises, big or small, with blame-game becoming the topic of the day.

In the case of the Bersih 3.0 protest, this is what is happening. The prime minister has dumped all the blame on the protesters for injuring a policeman, media personnel and destroying public property.

Has Najib who puts “people first” not read of witnesses’ accounts of protesters who were physically and verbally abused by the police? What about the video of a cop caught pointing his pistol at a group of people? Would the premier say it was the doing of the protesters for having instigated and challenged the police?

Lone battle to seek electoral reform

Going by the castigation thrown at Bersih 3.0, efforts demanding that elections in the country be held on a “free” and “clean” basis are going to be a lone battle.

Come what may, Bersih 3.0 is all about “do” or “die”. Never mind that the National Fatwa Council very clumsily has decreed that it is “haram” (not permissible) for Muslims to participate in any gathering or demonstration that is unproductive, is against the law or causes disturbance in the country.

Council chairperson Professor Emeritus Abdul Shukor Husin said they viewed seriously this issue as some Muslims had resorted to rioting during the Bersih 3.0 street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur.

“Rioting, causing disturbances and damaging public property are all forbidden by Islam. This also applies to any intention to topple a duly elected government by organising such demonstrations.

“No one is exempted, and cannot support any efforts that can cause harm, anxiety or unrest among Muslims to the point of the community becoming split, what more if there is bloodshed.”

The council’s solution? Asking that Muslims who participated in such demonstrations “bertaubat” or repent because Islam never calls on its followers to undertake actions that could threaten people’s lives just to pursue a specific agenda.

Too bad that the council has no backbone to accept the truth of April 28, that it was the authorities that yet again turned abusive towards the protesters.

What was the National Fatwa Council doing when Malay ruling party Umno turned offensive towards the non-Malays during its annual general assembly?

And where was this council when the Muslims of this country were threatening to “slaughter” the non-Malays who dared question Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which assures the Malay rights and privileges?

Also, in the council’s eyes, was the 2010 Arab Spring revolution against a corrupt and abusive government a sin? Is the fight for a “humane” government a sin? If it is, are the people of Libya, Egypt and Syria, in the eyes of Abdul Shukor, all sinners?

Leave religion alone

It is a worrying trend that each time when faced with an insecurity, the BN government resorts to religion to gag the actions of those fighting for the truth. Does BN not have any gumption to deal with the issue at hand, instead of childishly throwing tantrums and looking for scapegoats to bear the brunt of its misdeeds?

The Bersih 3.0 protest is proof that the rakyat has “awakened’ and will no longer embrace the shenanigans of BN at face value.

Perhaps this awakening has rattled the conniving and scheming brains behind BN who have now come under the public glare.

Instead of feeding the lay person lies about the April 28 events, it is in BN’s best interest that it bucks up and eats the humble pie.

Post-Bersih 3.0, there is no room left for propaganda, hypocrisy and most importantly, taking the rakyat for granted.

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.


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