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Malaysia

So-called peaceful protest ends in violence to gain publicity

I REALLY did not want to give extra publicity to the so-called peaceful protest that was held in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday.

However, as I am on leave today and had time to watch several videos related to the Bersih 3.0 protest, I realised that there was nothing Bersih about it. It should have been renamed Kotor 3.0.

Particularly disturbing was this video of how the crowd near Sogo attacked a police car and caused the driver to lose control and crash.

I could not believe my eyes that this was happening in Malaysia. Although it happened miles away in Malaya, it still hurt to watch the way the protesters turned so violent.

For a moment I thought I was watching a scene of violence from the Middle East or the violent riots in London.

We Malaysians have always been so proud of our cultured ways. Well, there was no sign of any culture in the protesters. Just violence, hatred and hooliganism.

The organisers of the protest have refused to take responsibility for what happened. In fact, they actually have the audacity to blame the government.

Well Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has rightly pointed out that organisers of Bersih 3.0 should take responsibility for any injury and damage to property caused during the rally.

He pointed out that organisers should be held accountable as they were unable to stop the protesters from turning violent.

“Datuk Ambiga Sreevanasan and the organisers should have taken up the offer to use Stadium Merdeka, but instead they insisted on taking the protest to the streets,” the DPM is quoted as saying.

“If they had held their rally in a stadium as offered, destruction of police cars and public property could have been avoided, and that both the police and people could have walked away unhurt.

“It was clear Ambiga and the organisers had lost control of the crowd, and the rally itself was also clearly hijacked by the opposition,” he added.

The government had nothing to gain in having to deploy police to break up the protest.

If the protesters had dispersed quietly there would have been no need for any action.

Instead they chose to break the law despite being warned by the Bar Council not to enter Dataran Merdeka.

Think about it.

Despite what Bersih and the opposition are saying about the violence and blaming the government, had the protest gone peacefully, they would not have gained anything!

They would not have received international media coverage if there had not been violent scenes. We all know it is violent scenes that get the most coverage.

They would not have been able to act like the aggrieved party if they had simply obeyed the law and conducted a peaceful sit-in at Stadium Merdeka.

No, they needed to create a spectacle of sorts and force the police into taking action so that they could claim a government crack down.

By the way, did you know that seven of the eight demands by Bersih were included in the 22 recommendations submitted by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms tabled in Parliament early this month?

PSC Committee member P. Kamalanathan said only the demand for a minimum 21-day campaign period was not included because it was not suitable to be implemented in Sabah and Sarawak.

However, it was still being considered by the government and the current campaign period of seven days had already been extended to 10 days.

The Hulu Selangor Member of Parliament said Bersih should give a chance to the Election Commission to implement the recommended reforms and not continue to criticise and find faults with the commission.

Seven out of eight points are already being considered by the government yet Bersih still insisted on holding the protest, which of course turned violent!

Why on earth would they endanger lives for political gain?

Sadly, a small segment of Malaysians were willing to be used in this political ploy.

I am grateful that no such scenes were witnessed at protest sites in Sarawak.

Granted the number at these protests were very small, but they could easily have acted out as well just to get media coverage.

Thankfully Sarawakians were wise enough not to do anything of the sort.

Let’s pray that Malaysia may never witness such violent scenes again.

A report from The Sun:

DPM: Bersih to blame

by Michelle Chun

PUTRAJAYA (April 29, 2012): The organisers of Bersih 3.0 should take responsibility for any injury and damage to property caused during the rally on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday.

He said the organisers, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), should be held accountable as it was unable to control the rally participants from turning violent against the police during the planned sit-in protest.

The organisers had earlier promised the rally would be peaceful.

“Datuk Ambiga Sreevanasan and the organisers should have taken up the offer to use Stadium Merdeka, but instead they insisted on taking the protest to the streets,” Muhyiddin said at a press conference after launching a national dialogue series on the education system yesterday.

“If they had held their rally in a stadium as offered, destruction of police cars and public property could have been avoided, and that both the police and people could have walked away unhurt.

“It was clear Ambiga and the organisers had lost control of the crowd, and the rally itself was also clearly hijacked by the Opposition,” he added.

Around 80,000 people took to the streets on Saturday in a rally organised by civil society groups, Bersih 2.0 and anti-Lynas group Himpunan Hijau 2.0.

The participants, who were mostly peaceful and well-behaved, were calling for clean and fair elections amidst rife speculation that polls may be called as early as June.

However, an alleged breach of the police barricades prompted swift action by the Federal Reserve Unit, which began firing tear gas and chemical-laced water on the participants.

Muhyiddin said the police acted professionally and did not instigate the violence and subsequent riot, which he said was uncalled for.

“The police did their job well and kept calm; the organisers should understand they lost control of the situation and be prepared to face any police action against them.

“They must respect the laws of the country,” he said.

The Bernama report:

Seven Demands By Bersih Included In PSC Recommendations On Electroral Reforms

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 (Bernama) — Seven of the eight demands by the Coalition for Clean and fair Elections (Bersih) have been included in the 22 recommendations submitted by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms tabled in Parliament early this month.

PSC Committee member P. Kamalanathan said only one demand by Bersih, on a minimum 21 days campaign period, was not included because it was not suitable to be implemented in Sabah and Sarawak.

However, the matter was still being considered, where the current campaign period of seven days had been extended to 10 days, he said at a community function here Thursday night.

Kamalanathan, who is Hulu Selangor Member of Parliament, said Bersih should give a chance for the Election Commission to implement the recommended reforms and not continue to criticise and find faults with the commission.

— BERNAMA

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