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Ambiga wins hands down

 | May 20, 2012

Her guts have scared politicians, espcially those with much at stake, hence the dirty move to deter her from pursuing her agenda of pushing for free and fair elections.

COMMENT

Bersih 2.0 co-chairperson A Samad Said is asking a very pertinent question – why are the detractors not giving him a hard time and are hell bent on harassing his colleague S Ambiga?

“Why are they only targeting Ambiga, they should choose me too,” asked the 77 year-old national laurette.

Samad or better known as Pak Samad has deduced  that the targetted protest against Ambiga could have a “racial or religious” connotation.

“If they continue to only target her, there may be a racial or religious slant which I think is not good,” he had said.

Indeed, Samad has spoken the truth. Had it been an Malay or Chinese woman battling for electoral reforms, would politicians like Ibrahim Ali dare clamour that her citizenship be revoked?

Or for that matter would the MCA or Umno remain silent had it been a Chinese or Malay woman whose life was being made a living hell?

Strangely or regrettably, the MIC has chosen to pander to the fancy of Umno, the dominant force of ruling coalition Barisan Nasional. Not a murmur was made by MIC big-wigs to reprimand those who continue to breach the law and harass the former Malaysian Bar president.

Ambiga spearheaded both the Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 protests demanding for reforms to the nation’s electoral system. It was the Bersih 3.0 protest with its hundreds of thousands of turnout  that saw detractors attacking Ambiga.

Post-Bersih 3.0, a series of protests that have taken place in front of Ambiga’s residence. On May 10,  a group of burger sellers staged a protest in front of Ambiga’s house by distributing 200 burgers.

Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas), the NGO behind the protest said burger stall owners had suffered losses amounting to RM200,000 due to the April 28 rally.

On May 15,  a group of 15 army veterans carried out butt flexing exercises facing her house. In reaction to the protest she said that it was a “targeted and planned harassment”.

Ambiga had said that since people know where she lives, they have constantly been coming to her house asking for free burgers and merely standing at her gate calling out her name.

On May 18,  there was an attempted break-in at Ambiga’s office in Damansara. She did not rule out intimidation tactics to scare her from pursuing the Bersih cause for clean and fair elections.

Protect the rakyat, stop the tasteless humour

While Ambiga’s privacy continues to be infringed upon, the police does not find it troubling enough to warrant action.

Instead, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar had declared there was nothing wrong with protesting in front of her house as these protesters did not trespass on private property.

Likewise, the police continues to downplay the attempted break-in at her office. Ambiga in her police report had mentioned that two men on a motorcycle have been following her for several days.

Would the police’s reaction be the same had Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s house been the target of those unhappy with his leadership which is riddles with corruption, nepotism and cronyism?

Or is it a case of ‘pilih bulu’ or choosing whom to protect based on their skin colour?

Khalid’s comment that it was not wrong for protesters to demonstrate in front of Ambiga’s house is full of ambiguity. Is creating nuisance outside the residence of a person not unlawful? Also, is it unlawful to sexually harass an individual, albeit the distance involved?

If it is not, then the time has come for such acts to be criminalised. Khalid has to stop making a fool of both himself and the police force.

When non-governmental organisation WargaAMAN said it would set up stall outside Khalid’s house in Ampang on May 20 to distribute thosai for free to the public in an attempt to promote the dish, Khalid found it humorous enough to order a ‘thosai telur’ and suggested that the stall be set up at a nearby field since his house was not a suitable location.

Khalid clearly lacks wisdom in discerning the gravity of an issue. Trying to display his sense of humour which was tasteless at best, he has only reinforced the people’s belief that the police force is on a tight leash of the ‘powers that be’.

As for premier Najib, how can he expect the rakyat’s mandate to rule the country when as a leader who claims that he puts “people first” above all else, he is not the least concerned about the threats and harassment being made against a member of the public?

Najib has also failed the rakyat when he opted to ‘play’ spectator each time Umno and Malay right wing Perkasa demanded that Ambiga’s citizenship be recalled.

Whatever the case, Ambiga wins hands down

When she led the rakyat in the Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 rallies respectively, Ambiga’s intention was far from being hailed as a hero. She was perturbed by the hanky-pankies taking place via the electoral process and decided it was time for a clean-up.

But her guts have scared the politicians, espcially those with much at stake, hence the dirty move to deter her from pursuing her agenda of pushing for free and fair elections.

Have those underhand tactics worked? Hardly. The spin-off effect is that the rakyat has realised the sincerity behind her call for electoral reforms.

And unlike Khalid and her detractors, Ambiga has revealed immense maturity when she asked WargaAMAN not to proceed with its ‘free thosai’ event.

Ambiga knows only too well this is not going to solve the already tensed situation.  Besides, such actions transgressed the law and amounted to being a public nuisance.

“I strongly urge all to refrain from these acts which infringe on the privacy of an individual. I urge those who are proposing to give the thosai to make them and distribute them to charity.

“Everyone must work towards making Malaysia a better place for all and we must be respectful of private spaces,” she told FMT.

Suffice to say that therein lies the difference between a woman who is out to fight for the rakyat and a top cop who takes dictates from politicians.

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.


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