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What? A Bersih 4.0 in the offing?

 | June 19, 2012

Most of the participants for the June 23 rally would be hawkers, burger sellers, ikan bakar operators and shopowners who suffered heavy losses during the two-hour rally on April 28.

COMMENT

Former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim’s rejection of the Bersih 3.0 rally could be the reason why his senatorship was not renewed and this subsequently led to his unexpected resignation. It had nothing to do with Bersih 2.0 as Bersih is apolitical.

The charges against PKR leaders – Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin Ali and Badrul Hisham Saharin – have nothing to do with politics. It is not a government conspiracy to pin them down or to prevent them from contesting. They simply broke the law on public assemblies. The public should not view that as political in nature.

The successive protests by near-bankrupt hawkers and shop traders affected by the two-hour Bersih 3.0 rally, at the residence of S Ambiga are not political either, and it should not be linked to Najib Tun Razak’s stellar and competent administration. Please give Najib and his 1Malaysia ethos some credit.

Ambiga and Bersih 2.0’s reluctance to confirm or deny if Bersih 4.0 would become a reality is not reassuring to the ruling coalition or to the near-bankrupt shop traders who foresee financial ruin should there ever be another Bersih rally. It is not political but more to protect their rice-bowls.

With the general election around the corner, most are resigned to the fact that Bersih 4.0 will not become a reality unless the government continues to put off the election until next year. After three successive rallies, the “Bersih” message of “free and fair elections’ have come across loud and clear.

There is simply no need for Bersih 4.0. It has even prompted Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to announce that reform of the electoral system is already underway while Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has insisted that the government has met all of Bersih’s demands. So why continue to tempt fate?

But Bersih 4.0 is slated to be held on June 23. Even a permit has been applied and the venue is the Bukit Jalil Stadium. Its organisers are estimating a 150,000 crowd compared with the lame 22,500 that attended the Bersih 3.0 rally.

International fame

Most of the attendees would be hawkers, burger sellers, ikan bakar operators and shopowners who suffered heavy losses during the two-hour rally on April 28. They, too, are a force to be reckoned with, and the minority rakyat should take heed.

“Bersih” has garnered international fame with its rallies running concurrently throughout most major cities in the world. Nevertheless, one must acknowledge that the crowd of 22,500 was not that big compared with the 150,000 estimated turnout that Bersih 4.0 will bring.

For sure, Bersih 4.0 would be welcomed by the government, as the organisers are neutral, delivering a “message of peace” and do not bear any grudges against the government. In fact, they intend to turn it into a festive carnival with many goodies like luxury cars and a Lamborghini up for grabs.

No reason, too, to bring out the tear gas and water-cannons this time. Count me in, as I’m a sucker for fast cars! And come to think of it, should not Bersih 2 use this opportunity to support Bersih 4.0? Everyone should be invited to make this event a success.

Suppose, PAS is able to garner a million members, and suppose the 22,500 participant did turn up, coupled with another 150,000 hawkers and shopkeepers, it would be beyond the wildest dreams of most Malaysians, making it historically the largest mammoth gathering in the country.

Phantom voters

But if Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim’s figures are wrong, and there were actually more than 250,000 people in the last Bersih rally as initially reported, we would have more than 1.5 million people supporting Bersih 4.0. In fact, everyone should start looking around their homes for used electrical items to contribute as prizes for the event. Second-hand but useable bicycles or motorcycles make perfect gifts as well. Used iPods or iPads would bring in the crowd.

Wearing yellow during the event may raise eyebrows, so try to wear dark blue. As long as the event attracts enough numbers, the message would come across. Malaysians, as ever, would be suckered to get the wrong message. After all, Bersih 4.0 is not against free and fair elections, which our government has been trying to tell everyone until its throat went hoarse. There is nothing wrong with the electoral roll. So it should not stop others from attending the event to lend support.

After all, what is so wrong to have a couple of thousand phantom voters here and there? Gerrymandering is nothing new, and allegations of Project IC in Sabah will not really affect the election results in the west coast states as they are so far away. Even the indelible ink has been given the green light with the government proposing three different colours. How accommodating.

The opposition, too, is getting more than its fair share of the mainstream media (MSM) with daily reports about Anwar, Azmin, Nurul Izzah , Lim Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang, Kapal Singh, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Hadi Awang and Mat Sabu, even though it may not always be favourable. Even Barisan Nasional leaders have to fight tooth and nail to clamour for their fair share of a slot in the MSM.

Besides, the Pakatan coalition also has an undivided media space in the opposition media, leaving BN leaders green with envy. Is it any wonder that the Pakatan Rakyat coalition has made such great strides until BN is cowering in fear that it may not be able to pull through this time?

Swimming with the tide

Let the whole world decide what Bersih 4.0 is all about. Sooner or later, all the participants at the event will join hands in unity when they realise that we are Malaysians, and need not have to be divided by the colour of our skin or our different religious beliefs.

So let’s do the right thing and lend them support. Discard our political and personal beliefs, join the camaraderie and swim with the tide. So let’s show that Malaysians are capable of holding mammoth rallies in support of “anything” under the sun.

Come on Ambiga. Don’t be a spoilsport and sulk that Bersih 4.0 has been hijacked. Bersih has been given unprecedented publicity by the “butt aerobics” performers and “burger stalls” operators and there are many who are bent on taking Bersih 4.0 to new heights. Take a back seat and let someone else be the organiser this time, and lend them our divided support.

And to the armchair critics hiding behind their computer screens, it’s time to flex your butts and join in the party on June 23 should Bersih 4.0’s permit to assemble is approved. Let us show the Bersih 4.0 organisers who are planning to set up foodstalls at the stadium, how accommodating Malaysians are, and with the mammoth crowd to buy up all available food to help them recover all their past losses. Remember, one of you may be lucky enough to go home with a “Lamborghini”.

A tour guide, trained pilot and naturalist, Iskandar Dzulkarnain has been writing a few years now and with his articles appearing in most of the E-media.


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