Hornbill Unleashed

April 29, 2012

Did Bersih walk into BN’s trap?

Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Given the perception that Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat are inseparable, the political repercussions from today’s fracas would likely discredit Bersih’s otherwise valid demands.

At about 3.20pm, a riot squad truck was seen firing chemical-laced water at a handful of yellow-clad protesters near the Dataran Merdeka area. A few minutes later, several tear gas canisters were shot.

This was just after poll watchdog Bersih 3.0 co-chairman S Ambiga declared the sit-in protest – to demand for free and fair elections – a success after more than 20,000 had defied police lockdown to gather just in front of the police barricades blocking the entrance to the square.

And despite police warning that stern action will be taken against those found near the barricaded area following a restriction order obtained yesterday, the police made no indication that they would act on the crowd.

It had been peaceful from the start. Those gathered at several meeting points throughout the city were allowed to converge near the square.

In fact, opposition leaders like PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim and DAP’s Karpal Singh were permitted to pass through the police blockades en route to the rendezvous point.

So what led to the fracas at around 3.20pm?

What drove the police to fire tear gas and water cannons on the protesters despite the crowd’s intention to disperse already?

Let’s look at the chronology of events.

Just after zohor prayers at around 1.45pm, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali made an appearance at the Dataran Merdeka intersection and delivered a short speech whipping up sentiments with the 20,000-strong crowd present.

He asked the crowd: “Do you want to enter Dataran?” The crowd shouts back, “Yes”. And Azmin replied: “Dataran does not belong to DBKL.”

Ambiga dispersed crowd

At about 2.30pm, Ambiga was in Masjid Jamek and declared that the rally was a success and urged the crowd to disperse.

At 2.35pm, Anwar took to the stage in Masjid India. He echoed Ambiga’s declaration of success and spiced it with a “we want elections to be clean. Malays, Chinese and Indians today all want the dirty government to end”.

Ambiga again called for the crowd to disperse peacefully before continuing her journey to Dataran Merdeka.

Barely had she asked the crowd to disperse when a handful of Bersih supporters forced their way through the barricades leading to Dataran.

This prompted the police to retaliate and the peaceful protest inadvertently became a repeat of the Bersih 2.0 rally that saw the city turned into a war-zone and a headache for the Najib administration.

But the tables are likely to be turned now.

Unlike the July 9 rally which saw police acting brutally against a peaceful rally, today’s fracas was triggered by some unruly supporters of a group that often prided itself on its peaceful demeanour and politically correct demands.

This is exactly what their rivals in the ruling Barisan Nasional want.

BN has tried hard in the past to depict the coalition of rights groups as anti-establishment hell-bent on overthrowing the government through mob rule.

Bersih in bad light

Today’s untoward incident gave them just that – the political ammunition to invalidate’s Bersih’s demands and strengthen accusations that it never had intentions to improve the election system.

Anticipation is rife that government-owned mainstream media are almost certain to highlight the encroachment made by some of the Bersih 3.0 protesters which forced the police to act.

What would worsen it is the fact that the altercation came amid Ambiga’s vow to respect the court order and pledge that Bersih 3.0 will act in accordance with the law.

Bersih leaders and their opposition backers are likely to deflect the issue.

They will likely blame the violence on agent provocateurs or turn the argument around on “principled grounds”, saying had they been allowed to assemble in Dataran, none of this would have happened.

But this argument has often fallen on deaf ears.

The votes from the highly critical fence-sitting electorate are key to turning around Pakatan Rakyat’s fortunes in its ambition to capture Putrajaya.

Given that omnipresent perception that Bersih and Pakatan are inseparable, the political repercussions from today’s fracas would likely repel neutral support for Pakatan and at the same time discredit Bersih’s otherwise valid demands.

13 Comments »

  1. I have always maintained that I never or will ever trust Azmin,for all intents n purposes,Ambiga was satisfied with the rally up to the point when she made the speech and called on the crowd to disperse,you see
    it’s the perception that it has achieved it’s objective,to see a peaceful crowd of 200k-250 gathering, has really shown the govt what they are facing b4 or during GE13,but then suddenly this idiot gave a speech
    whipping up sentiments n the rest is history,no matter how you view the situation,you have to accept the fact that politikus hijack yet again this Bersih rally and there goes the rakyaat’s will,we just wanted a Clean and Fair election,all of us Malaysian without any parties hitching a ride on our backs,Ambiga now has to focus on Bersih’s non political stand. and who the hell is Azmin,but a political parasite,A.Samad Said,Ambiga n the rest of the Bersih commitee members,I believe are non political.If the opposition want to ride along,they are welcome,but never take the limelight away from the Rakyaat’s willed.My 50 sen bit of opinion ( used to be 2 sens,but inflation caused otherwise,thanks to Umno/Bn’s idiotic running of the country ).

    Comment by Lok1 — April 29, 2012 @ 1:55 PM | Reply

  2. Let’s tanslate the fervour in Bersih into more votes agaisnt BN!

    Comment by Osbon — April 29, 2012 @ 12:48 PM | Reply

  3. There was not a single freaking reason for the Police to fire chemical laced water canon or tear gas at a large section of the protestors when only a handful of angry guys tried to remove the barricade into Dataran Merdeka. It was the job of the Police to arrest these few and not to abuse their uniform and badge of PDRM to provoke more counter attacks or to create a situation to justify their earlier warning of chaos. The unwarranted fiasco was premeditated and reflected very badly on the Police and the arrogant and irrelevant UMNO controlled BN. Only a moron Home Minister would interpret the over zealous actions of our robocops as professional when it clearly showed that many of the officers in blue were simply not qualified academically, emotionally and mentally to wear the badge and uniform of PDRM.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — April 29, 2012 @ 11:15 AM | Reply

    • A most encouraging sight to behold when about 1,800 timid protestors turned up at Kuching, about 600 in Sibu and close to about 1,600 in Miri to show solidilarity to Bersih 3.0 at Dataran Merdeka. Different races comprising mostly youths and many brave senior citizens who showed they care and concerned about the flaws and cheating in our electoral system and in every election.

      Comment by Lee Hui — April 29, 2012 @ 12:36 PM | Reply

      • NEW HOPE FOR SARAWAKIANS WITH CHANGE OF SLAVISH COLONIAL MINDSET

        Bersih 3 highlights our loss of democratic and human rights through the corrupt and unfair practices of the Malayan UMNO regime which has used dirty tactics military and police suppression to remain in power and domination for 54 years in Malaya and 48 years in the Sabah Sarawak colonies.

        With many people in different parts of Sarawak coming out to show solidarity with the Malayan Bersih marchers on 28 April 2012, let us hope the mindset of Sarawakians have changed from fear of colonial authority and suppression to that of asserting their democratic and human rights.

        As citizens of the new millennium we must stand up to re-claim our rights – stolen and denied by those who ruled over us so arbitrarily, we must screw up our courage and resist.

        It is not that we have not resisted. There were many who resisted the imposition of Malaysia on the Northern Borneo colonies from the 1950s to the 1990s. They are not mentioned in UMNO history books because they were not the victors. But they left us their legacy of heroic resistance for independence from neo-colonial rule under the UMNO PBB BN regimes for the last 48 years. Even though they faced over 40 years of suppression many did not give up their struggle.

        The new generation must be awoken to this knowledge of past contributions to our independence struggle.

        Many can now see clearly that the last 48 years’ experience of being ruled by UMNO in Malaysia and even those born after 1963 can see that we were conned big time to become part of Malaysia as we have received scant benefit by being “Malaysians”.

        We have been no more than mere colonial subjects of Kuala Lumpur which has been ripping off our resources and enslaving our minds with its colonial Malay supremacist apartheid ideas.

        When more and more people break free of their colonial mental chains, they will organise and plan for the historic task of regaining Sarawak independence we had from 1842 to 1942.

        Comment by anon — April 29, 2012 @ 1:27 PM | Reply

  4. When the BN Government locked up the Merdeka Square, they did it with a sole purpose which is to
    trap the Bersih supporters to react in fury.

    Comment by gagojackman — April 29, 2012 @ 10:52 AM | Reply

  5. GOOD ON YOU SARAWAKIANS- AT LAST YOU MADE A STAND & SHOW OF FORCE AGAINST THE COLONIAL REGIME!

    From FMT
    http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/04/28/large-turn-out-at-bersih-gatherings-in-sabah-sarawak/
    ———————————————————————————————————————————-

    New experience in Sarawak

    PAS also held its own gathering but it was more like a picnic by the seaside, with several members wearing the Bersih’s yellow T-shirts.

    In SARAWAK, the Bersih sit-in went on without any major incidents. It was apparently the first such experience for Sarawakians who have only read, watched and heard of street protests.

    Organisers in Kuching and Miri said they were happy with the support shown by Sarawakians for Bersih’s nationwide sit-down demanding clean and free polls.

    In Kuching, some 1,500 people gathered at the Old Courthouse area near the Kuching Waterfront. The Waterfront was cleaned by Kuching City Hall, making it inconvenient for any “sit-down” activity.

    Nonetheless, the crowd proceeded to the Old Courthouse and joining them were DAP elected representatives Chong Chieng Jen (Kota Sentosa), Violet Yong (Pending), Chiew Chu Sing (Kidurung) and PKR assemblymen Baru Bian and See Chee How. Also present were several NGOs championing native and environmental issues.

    Meanwhile, Miri saw a 1,400-strong crowd gather in front of the Resident’s Office while in Sibu some 600 supporters made a beeline to the Central Market.

    According to Sibu Bersih’s Dominic Sii, the sit-down protest was a “new” experience for Sibu residents.

    He said the gathering saw a large turnout from the local Iban and Malay communities.

    “We have never protested like this. It is a new experience for us. We were surprised and encouraged to see the participation of a large group of Ibans and Malays.

    “Everyone was cooperative. We sat down until 4pm and then dispersed,” he told FMT.

    Also present were DAP’s two assemblymen David Wong (Palawan) and Yap Hoy Leong (Tutong).

    (Could someone please post pictures and videos of Kuching Bersih?)

    Comment by anon — April 29, 2012 @ 10:08 AM | Reply

  6. The above article seems designed to discredit Bersih3 with its bald assumptions.

    Was it an agent provocateur who started the violence???

    There is a a high likelihood for this given that UMNO has much to lose. The videos show tens of thousands of people- almost an endless stream PEACEFULLY marching into Kuala Lumpur….

    Violence does not destroy the validity of the argument for clean and fair elections!

    AnonymousApr 28, 2012 06:49 PM from Wikisabah News
    http://wikisabah.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/bersih-sabah-twitter-update.html?showComment=1335664252024#c1778553308841251578

    WHO WAS PROVOKING WHO? WHY SPEAK SO SYMPATHETICALLY FOR THE CROOKS IN POWER?

    WHY DID UMNO SEND THE POLICE WHEN THE 99.99% OF THE CROWD WAS PEACEFULLY MARCHING?

    THIS ARTICLE BELOW TELLS US WHY BERSIH3 HAD TO HAPPEN.. SABAHANS ARE NO STRANGERS TO UMNO’S DIRTY TRICKS!

    300,000 new voters just in Selangor

    Concern over influx of new voters

    Writer: Brenda Ch’ng

    Published: Fri, 30 Mar 2012
    SHAH ALAM: Selangor recorded the highest number of new voters registered between 2008 and the third quarter of 2011, raising concern of electoral fraud in the upcoming general election.
    “The normal increase of new voters is usually between 4,000 to 5,000.

    However most constituencies in Selangor recorded an increase of over 10,000 new voters,” said Seri Andalas assemblyperson Dr Xavier Jayakumar on Tuesday

    Subang has 27,765 new voters while its neighbouring parliamentary seat Kelana Jaya recorded a 13,714 increase.

    “We’ve our suspicions about the increase. We looked into it and found 100 voters registered under the same house address,” he said.

    Subsequently they found 300 other houses with 100 new voters registered for each.

    New voters have also been found registered with “Green” MyKads with expiration dates printed on them.

    “We’ve seen it used by voters before in Sarawak and we fear it may be used here in the upcoming general election, too,” he said.

    Joining him was Meru assembly person Dr Abdul Rani Osman, who urged the Election Commission to investigate these discrepancies.
    **********************************************

    There are presently 300,000 new registered voters in Selangor. From the 300,000, 137,000 are Bangladeshiregistered in Jalan Belangkas alone, who were recently made citizens of this country and some were newly converted to Muslim not by choice but by force temporary so that they are able to continue working here in Malaysia.

    How do I know? The 137,000 Bangladeshis were all registered with just one 6P Agent in Jalan Belangkas with the help and support direct from Hishamuddin in Putrajaya.

    This particular 6P Agent had forced the Bangladeshis to pay him RM4,000 per person to register. Since most of them are penniless they were forced to sign agreement with this agent to give him the right to all their salaries in return they will get just RM4 per day from the sum. If the Bangladeshi is above 30 years old the contract is for 12 years. Anyone below that is 10 years. So basically the
    Bangladeshis are now slaves to this 6P Agent. To further insult the dignity of the Bangladeshis who are non-Muslim are now converted in paper as Muslim. Reason given is that only Muslims can get jobs in Malaysia. Since this is an open secret, the Bangladeshis have no choice but to accept it with a heavy heart.

    Now this particular 6P Agent is going to open a Bangla Restaurant in Jalan Belangkas.

    Now if this particular 6P Agent can register 137,000 Bangladeshis in Jalan Belangkas and make them instant citizens just to vote for UMNO in Selangor. Where do the real Rakyat’s vote stand in Selangor?

    When Putrajaya first sent the Mykad to this 6P Agent, they missed out the BIN. Then Putrajaya officers came in their black jeep and took them back. Two weeks ago they came and gave the new Mykad with the word BIN printed on it.

    I am just talking about Bangladeshis in Jalan Belangkas. What about the other aliens with other 6P Agents?

    Hishamoo said, “The 6P programme, which includes the registration, legalisation, amnesty, deportation, supervision and enforcement of foreign labour in the country, has registered 2,320,034 illegal and legal foreign workers using the biometric system as of Aug 31. Of these, a total of 1,303,126 are illegals.”

    This figure is not correct according to source from Putrajaya, the number of foreign workers illegal and legal is above 11 million. But according to Tony Pua this is unlikely. Then why is the data base in a tight seal updated by two senior officers only?

    WAKE UP SABAHANS- SOON THERE WILL BE NO REAL SABAHANS LEFT AS OWNERS OF SABAH IF YOU DO NOT STOP THE UMNO DIRTY TRICKS!

    Comment by anon — April 29, 2012 @ 9:59 AM | Reply

    • Sarawakians will vote for BN after receiving the RM500 bribe.
      That’s why the state is the fixed deposit of BN.
      In other words, Sarawakians betrayed the wishes of rakyat Malaysia.
      Sad but true.
      But I hope to be proven wrong.

      Comment by Osbon — May 1, 2012 @ 2:10 PM | Reply

  7. SABAH PEOPLE SHOW THEIR COURAGE
    http://wikisabah.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/bersih-sabah-twitter-update.html#more

    Saturday, April 28, 2012
    Large turn-out at Bersih gathering in Kota Kinabalu
    KOTA KINABALU: An unprecedented large crowd of about 1,500 people from all walks of life converged at the historic Merdeka Padang in the city today.

    Although turned away by hundreds of policemen barricading the field, they managed to conduct their Bersih 3.0 sit-in, a call for FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS.
    Read more » http://wikisabah.blogspot.com.au/

    Saturday, April 28, 2012
    Large turn-out at Bersih gathering in Kota Kinabalu
    KOTA KINABALU: An unprecedented large crowd of about 1,500 people from all walks of life converged at the historic Merdeka Padang in the city today.

    Although turned away by hundreds of policemen barricading the field, they managed to conduct their Bersih 3.0 sit-in, a call for FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS.

    City Hall officers were also quick to thwart Sabah Bersih 3.0 plans to hold its peaceful sit-in protest against electoral fraud which the state has seen more than its fair share of since the 1990s when the Umno-led Barisan Nasional came to Sabah.

    They, however, managed to conduct their Bersih 3.0 sit-in – for free and fair elections – around the field which on normal days is open to the public either for sport or recreation.

    DBKK’s poorly attended anti-crime programme …empty
    However, DBKK’s hastily organised anti-crime programme was poorly attended with almost all the stalls set up on the field empty.

    Only scores of DBKK staff were present in the stalls. Nevertheless, they used their loud speaker system to disrupt the speeches of some Bersih leaders who were using a hailer.

    Among those present were Bersih 3.0 Sabah chairman, singer Atama, whose real name is Andrew Ambrose, State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan, state DAP chairman, Jimmy Wong and PKR leaders.

    FRU watching over sit-in gathering
    Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Yong Teck Lee, who sent 200 members from the party’s youth wing (most visible crowd), also appeared at the gathering.

    There were no untoward incidents, no arrests were made and the crowd started to disperse.

    MEANWHILE in Donggongon, a small group of 20 local activists who gathered at the now famous Datuk Peter Mojuntin Monument in Donggongon, Penampang, some 12 km from here, was denied the opportunity to sit-in at the monument. They however staged their sit-in at a mamak cafe just adjacent to the monument.

    Workers of the Penampang District Council, and some believed to be policemen, carried out “cleaning activities” at the monument from 11am till 4pm without stopping, the first time the authority did so on the monument in a very long years.

    They even brushed the floor areas and the bronze (only legs parts because of its height) monument of the revered late leader of the Kadazandusuns, and made sure the area was wet at all time.

    Among the activists present there were chairman of CigMa or Common Interest Group Malaysia, Daniel John Jambun, representative of Mafrel and Transparency International, Jerry Ombou, journalist/activist Kanul Gindol, Penampang representative Bernard Solibun and lawyer Peter Marajin.

    Jambun said the authorities had employed the “occupy first” tactic to deny the public of access to the monument. “We relented and just observed them cleaning the areas. We achieved our objective of a sit-in in protest of the unwillingness of the ruling party to clean our electoral rolls ahead of the general election,” Jambun said.

    Comment by anon — April 29, 2012 @ 9:40 AM | Reply

  8. Berish has walked into the trap of both DSAI and Azmin.
    Both are using the Bersih platform to launch their own vengeance against the government and sacrifice the life of peace loving Malaysians.
    No wonder, Sarawakians don’t trust PKR.

    Comment by CHEW EL — April 29, 2012 @ 9:35 AM | Reply

    • QUESTION IS WHO IS AZMIN WORKING FOR PKR OR UMNO???

      Comment by anon — April 29, 2012 @ 9:41 AM | Reply

      • No one knows who is who until after election…..when the mask is removed or accidently fall off.

        Comment by Peter Siboh — April 29, 2012 @ 5:29 PM | Reply


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