Hornbill Unleashed

November 21, 2016

Bersih 2.0 adamant Dr M did not ‘hijack’ mega rally

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad waves as he arrives to attend the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2016. — AFP picBersih 2.0 insisted today that its rally was not “hijacked” by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who took to the stage at the Bersih 5 rally yesterday, and arguably stole the show.

According to its steering committee members, the polls reform group welcomed the former prime minister’s presence yesterday, but warned against anybody attempting to derail its reform agenda.

“We’re definitely not of the idea that he hijacked Bersih,” treasurer Thomas Fann told the media, referring to Dr Mahathir.

“We appreciate the participation of all leaders regardless of any political background, and also the people. Not only leaders came on stage, but also the people.”

Fann said Dr Mahathir had initially been expected to miss the rally since he was abroad for a forum in Sudan, and had joined only because he cut short his trip.

“It’s a movement that belongs to anyone who subscribes to the same agenda. That agenda will not be taken away by anyone who come in yet does not pursue the same,” said fellow steering committee member Dr Wong Chin Huat.

“We welcome Dr Mahathir’s presence yesterday. We believe he brought more support for Bersih.

“In no way, not him, not anyone can derail Bersih’s struggle from institutional reform. Anyone who wants to move away from the agenda of institutional reform will be abandoned by Bersih supporters,” the political scientist added.

Speaking at Bersih 5 yesterday, Dr Mahathir urged Malaysians to reject a government that oppresses its people and uses laws to silence criticism.

Dr Mahathir, who was accused of curtailing civil liberties during his time as prime minister, said the attendance of thousands of ordinary Malaysians at the street demonstration showed that people wanted a change in government.

The veteran politician claimed the use of security laws against key opposition and Bersih leaders ahead of the rally showed that the current government is undemocratic and does not listen to its people.

Besides the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman, his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin were also present, with the latter becoming an unlikely star and even received bigger cheer than Dr Mahathir.

Source : ZURAIRI AR@The Malay Mail Online




    Comment by tiuniamah — November 22, 2016 @ 11:20 AM | Reply

  2. Tens of thousands of Malaysians marched in a street demonstration on Nov. 19 calling for scandal-ridden prime minister Najib Razak, who’s accused of pocketing hundreds of millions from a state wealth fund, to step down.

    The threat of violence hung over the rally as a pro-Najib group harassed and threatened the protest organizers in the weeks before the big event. Some 7,000 police officers were deployed in response. Police had used tear gas and water cannons on demonstrators at previous protests.

    But the eight-hour-long rally ended without incident, with an estimated 40,000 Malaysians marching into the city center. Even newspapers linked to the ruling party lauded the outcome. With the city’s iconic Twin Towers in the background, protestors braving the scorching heat and monsoon rain listened to speeches from civic leaders and opposition politicians, delivered by a mobile sound system installed atop a pickup truck.

    Amid the shrill honking of the omnipresent vuvuzelas, demonstrators sang the national anthem before dispersing. Some even collected litter to ensure the street would be spotless the following morning.

    Absent from the rally was Maria Chin Abdullah, the 60-year-old chairwoman of Bersih, the electoral reform group that organized the protest. Maria, as she is known to Malaysians, and more than a dozen politicians and activists. including Najib supporters. had been detained on the eve of the rally, taken from their offices or homes.

    While most of those detained were released last night (Nov. 20) or scheduled for release today, the Malaysian government held Maria in solitary confinement in a tiny windowless cell with a wooden plank for a bed and the lights kept on 24 hours a day, Bersih said.

    The “kindly auntie” who got her start in activism fighting for women’s rights, will be held for 28 days in total under an onerous new counter-terrorism law. Her lawyers say she remains in high spirits. They were given access to her 48 hours after her detention, one of the law’s provisions.

    Sleep deprivation has been condemned by the United Nations Committee Against Torture, which has called it “a form of ill-treatment.” It’s one of the techniques used by US intelligence at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, and has left lasting damage to those subjected to it.

    Amnesty International has named Maria a prisoner of conscience. Hundreds of Malaysians held a candlelight vigil for the Bersih leader last night outside the notorious Jinjang jail where she is being held. Phil Robertson, its deputy Asia director, told the Financial Times (paywall) that the government is making the activists “pay” for holding the rally.

    Meanwhile, the prime minister—who has called the protests “a tool of the opposition” and “a fake struggle”—has been in Peru attending the annual APEC meeting. His latest posts on Facebook, where he maintains an active presence, were photos of him glad-handing world leaders in Lima. “It was a pleasant surprise to see Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau coming over to greet me,” he wrote as he shared candid photos of him and Trudeau.

    Comment by almaz — November 21, 2016 @ 6:02 PM | Reply

  3. Umno is so afraid that Mahathir’s presence at Bersih 5 would trigger the malays to think, and to question those TV3 propaganda.
    Therefore they have to discredit Mahathir’s presence. simple as that.

    Comment by munah — November 21, 2016 @ 4:16 PM | Reply

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