Can Jamal tell us what he really wants?

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Instead of acting like someone worthy of respect as a leader in a political organisation, Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Mohd Yunos behaves like a juvenile delinquent. He taunts, he provokes and he incites violence.

In the latest display of his boorishness, he called Maria Chin of Bersih a circus animal and an opposition dog. What would he call himself then? A performing monkey dancing to the tune of the ring master in the Umno-Baru circus?

Maria leads an organisation that is fighting for the betterment of Malaysia. Bersih demands free and fair elections. It wants equality. It wants a free press. It wants to see the Election Commission carry out its duties with diligence and responsibility.

What does Jamal want? He led a crowd to the Putra World Trade Centre on August 28 and said that his group, Himpunan Merah, would counter any rally held by Bersih. As far as anyone can see, Jamal’s role is that of an agent provocateur.

He said he would lead a multi-racial crowd on the same day in November that Bersih plans to have a march. Does he realise that his rally will be meaningless if the people taking part in it are not aware of the reasons for it?

When the people at the previous Himpunan Merah rally were asked why they were there, many said they did not know.

One said it was because he wore a red shirt and his presence was needed to thwart the yellow shirts. Is that the kind of intelligence we are to associate with Jamal’s crowd?

If Jamal had any leadership quality in him, he would ask himself why Maria has called for a march. This is something that has escaped many of his supporters.

Bersih is calling for government action against the individual described as “Malaysian Official 1 (MO1)” in documents related to the US Department of Justice’s civil action against parties allegedly connected to the 1MDB scandal.

There have been allegations in the media that some funds from 1MDB and related entities did flow to MO1. Bersih wants government action because it wants to know the truth. It wants accountability.

Are Jamal and his troops not bothered that taxpayers’ money is failing to reach the communities that need help? A few million ringgit will go far to pay for much needed equipment in a hospital or rural school. Imagine what a few billion ringgit could do.

It appears that Jamal needs to go back to school to learn about democracy and about rights and equality.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

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