Mahathir finds it is politically satisfying to mislead or fool the rakyat into believing that the Bersih 3.0 protest was a mistake.
Then came Bersih 2.0 on July 9, 2011. This time the federal government was jolted into realising that the rakyat was serious in their demands. Still, pushing its luck, the government instead shifted all the blame on the rally organisers.
Amazingly, the Barisan Nasional led-federal government latched on to its flawed conception that “time heals all wounds” and Bersih 2.0 would soon be a thing of the past.
But how wrong the government was. Instead April 28, 2012 turned out to be the D-day for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration. The full-force turnout at the rally made one thing very clear: the rakyat wants the “mess” behind dirty elections cleaned up.
Two months post-April 28, the government has made clear its disinterest in ensuring that polls in the country hinge on two very important credentials – fair and clean.
Instead, the tables have been turned on the people for being ungrateful to the BN government which has given “its citizens a good life”, so claims former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad through his blog.
Throwing his good judgment out of the window, Mahathir finds its politically satisfying to mislead or fool the rakyat into believing that the Bersih 3.0 protest was a mistake.
With the 13th general election due anytime now, Mahathir has decided to “camp” with BN and do what BN does best – trick the people via its rhetoric and propaganda.
Would condemning Bersih and accusing the rakyat of trying to oust the BN government lend the federal administration the necessary credentials to improve its standing in the people’s eyes?
Mahathir knows the truth but due to the skeletons of yesteryears stuffed inside his closet, he has decided to play the devil’s advocate.
That perhaps justifies why this doctor-turned-politician-author-blogger is asking the rakyat to exerise wisdom when casting their votes in the coming general election.
Only change is constant
A man who is often credited as being sharp and witty, Mahathir, 84, however, in cautioning the people, has forgotten the universal truth that the only thing constant is change.
Sounding his clarion call against the perils of change is a trick the rakyat is not buying. The people have wisened up and it is this that is worrying the BN leadership – Malaysians are no longer afraid of defending the truth.
And it is the truth that has led to the downfall and subsequent demise of autocratic leaders in countries such as Egypt, Syria and Libya, among others.
So scary is the truth that a corrupt politician will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth remains buried and this is what Mahathir is now doing – playing the scaremonger in the hope that the rakyat will see BN as the only party capable of steering this nation past any trouble.
Bersih is not about politics
The truth-abiding people can explain until the cows come home that Bersih is apolitical and that its uphill battle is all about making sure the nation’s polls are held without fear or favour – and still Mahathir and the rest of the BN “entourage” will not change their mind.
Do not associate the Bersih rallies with the unrest that happened at Tahrir Square in Egypt or in other parts of the Arab nation, which left them with the moniker “the Arab Spring”.
Mahathir, who holds the record as the country’s longest-serving premier of 22 years, is “worried” that the Bersih protests could upset his Vision 2020, of seeing Malaysia becoming a full-fledged developed nation.
The truth, however, reveals otherwise. The BN government is being chastised because of its endless penchant for corruption and nepotism.
For instance, would Najib listen if the people questioned the government’s move to appoint a corrupt politician like former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad as the Felda chairman?
There are many more of such “convenient arrangements” made by BN and through Bersih, the rakyat wants such corrupt indulgences to come to an end.
Put it this way, would the government bother listening had the rakyat complained in their personal capacities? Certainly not! So why hold a grudge against Bersih when its task is to relay the rakyat’s grouses to the federal administration?
Mahathir is therefore wrong in assuming that any change in the political sphere might bring about perilous consequences for the nation.
Have a good listening ear, BN
In the hullaballoo post-Bersih 3.0, the government has decided to come down hard on the protest organisers, the agenda being to send the message home that “no one messes with BN or more precisely Umno”.
Unfortunately, this move has only widened the chasm between the truth-seeking rakyat and the government. But then the BN administration has never been a proponent of truth and this continues to frustrate the rakyat.
Malaysians know better than to compromise on the already shaky peace and harmony that once stood as the country’s bedrock.
Precisely for that reason, keeping in mind the progress and development of this country, the rakyat has spoken, not once but three times – Bersih 2007, Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0.
And still the BN government refuses to listen.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.