By Lim Kit Siang
The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should stop the madness where a person can be detained by the police for wearing the Bersih 2.0 T-shirt, as if he/she is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden.
Last night, the police have started arresting people for wearing the Bersih 2.0 T-shirt.
This are tweets about the arrest in Shahj Alam last night:
@LatheefaKoya Baru dpt panggilan dari sdr Jonah, ditangkap krn memakai baju bersih, mempromosikan #bersih2.0 akan diambil kenyataan skang
@bersih2: Jonah: polis kata Tshirt #bersih mempromosikan bersih 2.0 yg merupakan hasutan
This is not the reaction of the police in a developed democracy but the response of a repressive and undemocratic government which is afraid of the voice of the people.
Hishammuddin should direct the police to end its hostile, combative, confrontational and repressive stance against the Bersih 2.0 rally on 9th July and to undergo a sea-change for the police to co-operate with the Bersih 2.0 organisers to ensure that the peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally is held successfully, – help by police in crowd control, resolve the traffic congestion in the Federal capital on that day and most important of all, ensure that no irresponsible group of persons are allowed to disrupt the peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally.
Many more people will turn up to support the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9 for free, fair and clean elections than the first Bersih rally in 2007 – in fact, a manifold increase which will be twice, thrice or higher multiple of the 2007 crowd of 40,000 to 50,000.
The many reasons why there will be a manifold increase in the number of people turning up to support the Berish 2.0 rally include:
1. Post “308” political tsunami, which has empowered Malaysians who want to reclaim their democratic right to help shape the future and destiny of the nation;
2. The Arab Spring and the Tahrir Square effect educating and motivating more Malaysians about their political rights to have a say in the national decision-making process through peaceful and democratic means;
3. World-wide and regional movement for change, including the recent Singapore general election results demonstrating that although the Singapore PAP Government had delivered on economic development, the cries of Singaporeans for participatory democracy and consultative form of governance cannot be ignored.
4. Utter disgust with the politics of intimidation and double-standards, the former typified by the provocative, incendiary, inflammatory and seditious threats of another May 13 by Perkasa President, Ibrahim Ali and the latter by the inaction, connivance and complicity of the Home Minister in failing to take action to prosecute Ibrahim Ali for grave crimes against the people and state of Malaysia.
5. The greater awareness that Malaysians must stand up to speak in clear and unequivocal terms that they want electoral reforms if the next 13th General Elections is to be free, fair and clean.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should embrace the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean elections not to demonstrate his democratic credentials but even more important, to show to the nation and the world that Malaysia is now in the ranks of developed democracies in handling mass public gatherings and the people’s right to freedom of expression.
If 150,000 people could hold a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong on June 4 to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre 22 years ago and to stand up for democracy and the rule of law, is Malaysia more backward than China in respecting peaceful public protests?
If tens and hundreds of thousands of people can gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo to usher in the Arab Spring, which won the praise of many Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders, is Malaysia more backward than the Arabian countries in upholding democracy and the rule of law?
I still remember the monster rallies on Feb. 15 and 16, 2003 where 10 to 30 million people demonstrated worldwide in some 60 countries against the war in Iraq, with Rome entering the Book of Records with the largest anti-war rally in history (three million people) followed by Madrid with 1.5 million people!
The Malaysian Prime Minister at the time and other UMNO leaders had praised these worldwide anti-war peaceful protests. Why, then, are the Umno and BN leaders in the year 2011 so silent and not prepared to help to ensure the successful holding of a peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean elections especialoly if it is to set a new record in Malaysia for crowd turnout?