Bersih 3.0 — updates on open thread
One of my regular readers Subra believes there will be no Bersih 4.0 as the Chinese pantang the number four.
So this one is the last of the series but they can always still go ahead by moving backwards, like what George Lucas did with his Star Wars prequels.
I shall be online throughout the day. You can scroll down for newer entries.
Only please remember to refresh your page every now and then. Aside from my pegging a timeline of breaking events, I hope that you too will contribute your input in the form of thoughts and opinions so that we can together try to make sense of the bigger picture.
It’s more than just Bersih supporters attempting to occupy Dataran Merdeka; in fact the ‘occupation’ agenda in itself is already suggestive.
There are those who believe that what the opposition really want is civil disruption akin to a Tahrir Square situation so that the government of the day can be toppled and the opposition propel themselves to power.
Who are Bersih?
MalaysiakiniTV’s abstract (see above) of Bersih 1.0 in November 2007 states Anwar as well as mentions that he’s accompanied by Hadi Awang, Nasharuddin, Kit Siang and Guan Eng.
Note the MalaysiakiniTV report blurb fails to list any names belonging to NGO leaders while Ambiga is not even in the frame.
Power to who?
Haris Ibrahim posted in his blog:
Haris wrote on 28 July 2011, “[Tian Chua] you took it upon yourself to alter a peaceful rally to one of aggression and, in so doing, put many out there at risk to life and limb.”
Tian Chua responded with a press release on the same day.
Barely 10 days later on Aug 9, Haris ‘resigns’ as Bersih 2.0 steering committee member.
So who do you think is in charge?
After all Anwar could say, “I’ll tell Ambiga to call off Bersih rally if …”
And on their own how many people do you think lawyers like Ambiga and Haris can summon to the streets?
“The Bersih feeling is in the air in Kuala Lumpur” — Ambiga tells the press this morning.
So are the twits on air.
Bersih is determined to sit in but there is a court order barring the public from entering Dataran Merdeka in force from today until May 1.
There is also the new Peaceful Assembly Act that bans dynamic street demos (meaning, crowds on the move as opposed to static).
“Supporters of Bersih 3.0 are permitted to gather at their meeting points but are prohibited from marching to Dataran Merdeka as provided for by the recently enforced Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA), said Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh.” — see here
If the Bersih protesters are nabbed for breach of the law, blame it on their beloved Pakatan leaders, i.e. the MPs who did not do enough to block the passage of the Peaceful Assembly bill in Parliament.
The opposition are more interested in agitation and care more about political mileage and publicity on CNN and Al-Jazeera than they are about safeguarding our civil liberties where it counts — in Parliament.
The Dewan is where DAPsters, Anwaristas and such ilk have enthroned their media darlings to play the role of legislators, and some of the Pakatan reps have been caught busy Facebooking when the house is in session.
All ye who blame BN for everything, recall that your Pakatan representatives are lawmakers too.
For the record: I’m against the ‘no marches permitted’ stipulation in the Peaceful Assembly Act. Hence I’m very disappointed in the Pakatan parliamentarians (who got my vote / I didn’t elect BN) for sleeping on the job when they should have been alert watchdogs.
Bersih begins at home
Pakatan’s three parties can’t even keep their own houses in order.
The election process in PKR? Enough said.
Hannah Yeoh, Teo Nie Ching and Jeff Ooi were nominated as general election candidates in 2008 despite not fulfilling the requirement – serving a minumum two years as DAP members. Their nomination was in contravention of the party constitution but they were allowed the caveat.
DAP’s recent acquisition – the Malay window dressing Sakmongkol – will be nominated as DAP election candidate in GE13 using the same waiver.
Kim Guan Eng may be sailing into his fourth term by flouting the same DAP constitution which limits its sec-gen to three terms. DAP’s mandatory party election is due this year but has been postponed.
Do the Pakatan parties respect the electoral process?
Or due process? Ask Hasan Ali who was sacked by PAS in the most peremptory manner.
Do the opposition even respect the need to hold elections?
In their own backyard
During their last GE campaign, Pakatan promised to carry out local elections. They are in power four years already now in Selangor, Penang and Kedah plus donkey years in Kelantan.
[They can pass a contentious fatwa as law in Kedah and yet DAP keeps mum].
A special assistant to Subang Jaya Adun Hannah Yeoh was this year appointed to the Subang Jaya municipal council (MPSJ). Chia Yew Ken takes over the seat from Edward Ling — Hannah’s political secretary who was sitting in the MPSJ the past few years.
Another MPSJ councillor is Rajiv Rishyakaran, also a Hannah Yeoh “special assistant”. Appointed. Not elected.
Is the MPSJ the family business of Hannah Yeoh & Co.?
And these are the very same folks pressing the Election Commission (SPR) to resign in toto under Bersih’s current demands.
And btw, what are the functions of the many Hannah Yeoh special assistants, you might want to ask? Answer: To carry her stuff, apparently — see screenshot of her tweet above.
Urm, what is the Bersih message again, leh?
What are among the Bersih demands? Oh, I see. Free and fair access to media.
Two words: Selangor Times
Add another two: Look mirror
But really. Are the opposition, particularly DAP, not featured in The Star? If you haven’t already, please READ THIS.
In fact, we should be more surprised to learn that the paper is owned by MCA. One would have thought it was The Rockette in disguise.
The clean, pure and prayerful
“… when pastors and priests are perceived to be delivering sermons that read as if they have been lifted from the speeches of certain opposition politicians.” — see here
“Like the earlier two rallies, Bersih 3.0 has evolved into an event that captures a broad range of concerns, from the environment, religious rights, 1Care health insurance scheme and corruption to electoral reform and free education.” — see here
Only Christian religious rights though. Hindraf has not been welcomed by Bersih. The Buddhists have been quiet in all of this.
Nonetheless some of the issues raised by those scrutinizing the Malaysian electoral system are valid.
The blue bars in the chart are BN seats – wards with small electorates. The red bars are opposition seats with voters packed like sardines.
Avid Malaysia watcher Dr Bridget Welsh says that up until Bersih 3.0, it was her view that BN had the advantage. Today may turn the tide. That’s why The Saints Come Marching In to Dataran Merdeka.
“Now, this dynamic [BN vs Pakatan in popularity] is again in flux. The competition has risen sharply, as seats in the BN’s hands are less secure. The recent questionable changes involving the electoral process are even more important, and contentious.”‘
What Bridget Welsh points out about the “questionable changes” contained in the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill 2012 passed by Parliament on April 19 is true. The amendments are indeed a cause for concern.
Dr Welsh made several further pertinent observations as to why the yellow shirts and green shirts are presently thronging the national capital. On the importance of being earnest, she links it to groups that will shape the election results.
The main one is the youth, providing at least two million first-time voters.
Dr Welsh summarizes:
“Today the issue of free education and treatment of students has made Bersih 3.0 highly emotive among many younger Malaysians, and their turnout will be a test for how the ground is moving.
“The second group is middle-class voters. Many of these individuals had never been to a protest before July 2011 [Bersih 2.0] and if they show up in high numbers, then it will highlight the challenge the government faces in winning over key opinion leaders in various communities.”
[they be DAPsters -- bold emphasis by this blogger]
Dr Welsh’s analysis is that a “crackdown will only serve to reinforce the sense of unfairness and the need for better governance that is essentially underlying the Bersih 3.0 rally”.
Nonetheless amidst the Pakatan public image jockeying – fanning a sense of glory cum grievance from the outcome of today’s events – the players on their team have also made some alarmist claims meant to cast a propaganda cloud.
Blogger Jebat Must Die dissects one such claim.
“Bersih 3.0 was recently helped by another [of] Pakatan Rakyat’s sycophant by the name of Ong Kian Ming.
He just created a special project called MERAP (Malaysia Electoral Roll Analysis Project) which had made wild unsubstantiated allegations about the discrepancies in the electoral roll.
Basically he alleged that currently there are 3.1 million dubious voters in the electoral roll. His contention was:
‘Bersih accused the Election Commission (EC) today of failing to investigate 3.1 million voters whose identity card (IC) addresses differ from that in the electoral roll despite having the information since 2002.’
I believe this Ong Kian Ming, who is so biased in his political dogma refused to study the basic laws relating to the Electoral Commission law of Malaysia.
Before 2002, people can register to vote regardless what the address in the identity card is. The Act was changed in 2002 whereby your voting area will follow the address in your IC. Therefore, after 2002, if you register for the first time, your IC address will determine the constituency you will vote.
The law clearly stated that.
But if the voter changed address or live elsewhere, the place where he is voting will remain the same as what he originally registered himself. If he himself DOES NOT apply to change his voting constituency then the EC has NO POWER to change it for him.
That is why many of us go back to our hometowns to vote. This is a normal occurrence. Anwar Ibrahim lives in Bukit Segambut but he votes in Permatang Pauh. Lim Guan Eng was a candidate in Pulau Pinang but he voted in Melaka back in 2008.
I myself registered to vote in the 90s but have always voted in Melaka even though my IC address is in Kuala Lumpur. I have no desire to change my voting constituency. But am I a dubious voter?”
Although I’m registered to vote in Petaling Jaya Utara, my IC did not bear a corresponding address to the location. In fact, when the country changed to MyKad, mine was an Ampang address.
The pro-opposition political analyst Ong Kian Ming would include Jebat two, me three in his figure of 3.1 million dubious voters on the electoral roll.
I’m not. And the irony of ironies, my vote had always previously gone to the party that he’s so closely aligned with.
[More to follow ... stay tuned]
Screenshot below taken from Anil Netto’s blog
Hmm, the Bersih song is mostly in Mandarin. So who it is that Dr Mana says are singing the song?
The first lines (of the song proper) goes:
我 们 要 的 不 多
不 分 肤 色 区 分 你 我
和 谐 共 处 和 安 乐 的 生 活
See video for lyrics translation
Voting is a matter of stepping into the polling booth and ticking a ballot paper. Why the tragic faces, pitiful pleas and the trickling tears if the video of the Bersih song is supposed to be talking about the movement’s demands like swabbing indelible ink on your finger and extending the election campaign period?
See the video. It’s filled with so many 可怜 and tear-stained faces.
Gosh, even the French are not this emotional.
France is going to the polls next week to elect her president. The challenger, Socialist candidate François Hollande topped the first round winning 29 percent of the vote and will be in the run-off with sitting president Nicolas Sarkozy who obtained 27 percent. The far right’s Marine Le Pen had finished third with 18 percent.
[Former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn failed to make the French presidential race after a sex scandal, for which he is accusing Sarkozy of orchestrating.]
Hollande “talks much about fairness, justice and equality” at his campaign rallies.
He “talks a lot about social justice, but barely at all about the need to create wealth. Although he pledges to cut the budget deficit, he plans to do so by raising taxes, not cutting spending,” says The Economist today.
I wonder too where Pakatan is going to find all that money to pay for all the things that they are promising to make free of charge, including abolishing the PTPTN and writing off student debts. The Buku Jingga must be some kind of Santa Claus ledger.
But back to the real socialist. François Hollande declares war on “the world of finance” and denounces the new super-rich as “grasping and arrogant”. During the 2007 campaign, Hollande was heard to declare: “I don’t like the rich.”
He sounds like the real thing (a socialist). Compare this French politician who was formerly First Secretary of the French Socialist Party with a certain fake socialist politician in our own country.
Ours (i.e. the sec-gen of our homegrown socialist party) is getting chubbier and chubbier by the day from what we Chinese call ‘prosperity’. So many photographs of him at Chinese banquets are often to be found in the society and business pages of the Chinese newspapers. He appears to love consorting with the rich — his new best friends.
Funny that DAPSY (Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth) – which is the youth wing of DAP – has not taken heed of François Hollande’s denouncement of the new super-rich as “grasping and arrogant”.
Penang is incessantly boasting how spectacularly it is doing since BN got kicked out and how prosperous it has become under the rule of the Caliph. And not forgetting, what many splendid and fine houses they have managed to built and are planning to build some more, and more.
In contrast, the people in the Bersih crying song video are so sad. I don’t reckon that they live in Penang. A change of air to the island might do them some good to help cheer up.
The song above is titled ‘Returning Home’.
Political scientist Wong Chin Huat, a Bersih steering committee member, was interviewed by The Nut Graph today. To a question on whether Bersih was being impatient by not giving the EC a fair chance, he replied:
“From the [Parliamentary Select Committee] report, it is clear some of Bersih’s key demands will not be fulfilled. Crucially, the report was silent on corruption and dirty politics.”
‘Dirty politics’ is a wide area that is hard to be pinned down by an agency like the EC. Or corruption for that matter. Some examples cited by Chin Huat:
“In fact, immediately after the release of the report, cartoons showing (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) as Superman were distributed in schools, and Barisan Nasional (BN) flags were hung in KTM stations in Selangor. If this is how things are now, how much worse will it get when elections are called?”
Chin Huat claims that there were no concrete measures suggested by the PSC report to penalise and deter abuse of government machinery.
Hmm, BN flags were hung in KTM stations. An ‘interesting’ complaint. Can any Penangites tell us whether DAP flags are flown in public places?
‘Forrestcat’, a regular reader of this blog, left a comment (excerpt):
“We can see that this fake anglophile hybrid Hannah HOSSANAH Yeoh also playing politics with no substance. Play with lies and hypocrisy… I work in PJ and [am] sick of seeing her face in Selangorkini and Selangor Times which are given free at mosques around PJ.”
@ 2012/04/21 at 11:35pm (here)
According to Chin Huat, it is an abuse of government machinery when Najib cartoons in booklets are distributed in schools.
How about when Hannah Yeoh photos (whose face we’re sick and tired of looking at) in print media are distributed in mosques every Friday by the state?
When BN does it, it’s dirty politics. When Pakatan does it, it’s the choir of angels singing in exultation from heaven above, yah?
Another dissatisfaction that Chin Huat had with the PSC report is its refusal “to affirm the right of all overseas Malaysians to vote as absent voters”.
Postal voters not okay but overseas absent voters encouraged? I’m still trying to digest the gripe. And is this such a big issue as to be a catalyst for the mobilization of the self-righteous masses to take to the streets, “walking alongside God”?
Chin Huat elaborates on his reply to the question:
“Deciding not to waste time talking to the EC is therefore not denying the EC a fair chance. Rather it is about giving Malaysian citizens a fair chance at clean and fair elections so that voters can decide who runs this country when the next general election is called. We are prepared to engage in civil disobedience to defy unjust authority.”
While Chin Huat himself may be already quite used to being a police magnet, is it wise to take thousands of fellow Malaysians down the same path?
Already we see the culture of anomie and anarchy proliferating online. Today was simply another occasion for this culture to be transferred to the flesh.
And it seems to me that the 428 event would have proceeded whatever the PSC or EC did or didn’t do.
Chin Huat paints the authorities as “unjust”. Are the state authorities of Penang and Selangor more ‘just’ than the federal authorities? Were the Penang authorities being just in this case (here)?
Just came across the photo below.
Wong Chin Huat is the guy in yellow standing beside the car, finger pointing up and speaking into the loudhailer. (??) [I have no idea ...]