NSC may be used to stop Bersih 5, says Opposition

S Arutchelvan.PETALING JAYA: It is likely that Prime Minister Najib Razak may use the National Security Council Act (NSC) to stop Bersih 2.0’s next rally, according to PSM’s Central Committee Member S Arutchelvan.

The NSC Act gives the prime minister absolute power to declare an area a security threat.

Speaking at a talk given at Merdekarya, entitled “How NSC affects us”, here today, Arutchelvan said that if Najib was truly desperate, then he could enact the NSC Act to stop all attempts at holding Bersih 5.

“They could use the logic that it is for the public’s own protection. They can claim that they’ve recieved a terrorist threat at Dataran Merdeka or wherever Bersih decides to hold their rally.”

He pointed out, however, that it was more likely that they would use racial politics to condemn the rally or the Red Shirts movement to cause trouble, to avoid losing public favour.

“In previous Bersih rallies, they issued a court order where many notables, including Ambiga Sreenevasan and Lim Kit Siang, were arrested and this caused people to take to the streets. They may want to avoid this from happening again.”

Previously, Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos had said he would hold a counter rally at the same time and place that Bersih is held.

Recently, Bersih 2.0 Chairman Maria Chin Abdullah announced that the fifth edition of the electoral watchdog’s street rally would be held on Nov 19.

She also announced that the group will conduct a roadshow across the country a month before the protest.

DAP Wanita National Assistant Publicity Secretary Syerleena Abdul Rashid, who was also present, pointed out that because of the absolute power Najib held under the NSC, he may even declare that the whole country was under a security threat so that there will not even be any elections.

“The more desperate the government is, the more they will clamp down on democratic practices.

“There’s always the possibility that the whole country will be placed under a security zone and there will be no elections.”

She added that the best way to combat the NSC was to create media hype against it.

“The more people know about it, the higher the likelihood that those responsible will be put under greater scrutiny.”