The initial `shock and awe’ mass arrests seems to be bottoming out if the graph by Shiunghan here is showing correctly below. Current total arrests: 115; Still under detention: 30. No stats for those called up by police to give statements-some repeatedly.
Archive for July 1st, 2011
When the Election Commission chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz briefed the Returning Officers for the 10th Sarawak State Elections a major point he emphasised was the need to appear neutral when dealing with politicians who are visiting for campaigning purposes. Since the RO are often SAO(Senior Assistant Officer) or DO(District Officer) in the government structure they will have to welcome the VIP who are their superiors. The advice from the EC chief was: just shake hand with the VIP and then leave the rest to your assistant. You should not be seen to be accompanying the politicians when he goes campaigning. Yet this rule is violated almost in all the constituencies in the Sarawak state elections-including even by the Sarawak State Secretary, Morshidi bin Abdul Ghani, who was spotted by the Star paper for accompanying the Chief Minister after the dissolution of the State Assmbly in most of his campaign tours around Sarawak! Teachers are often mobilised by the Minister of Education Muhyiddin Yassin, from the Federal government to attend campaign functions addressed by him.
There are people who are misguided enough to think that the popularity of Red shirt Thanksin faction can be replicated in Malaysia to extend UMNO/BN’s rule of over half a century. This is due to their ignorance on the vastly different urbanisation levels of the 2 countries:
Thailand’s urbanisation : 33% (2008)
Malaysia’s urbanisation: 70%(2008)
Thus the population distribution between urban and rural areas for the 2 neighbouring countries are almost mirror image of each other: Malaysia has only 30% of rural population whereas Thailand has slightly more than 30% urban population!
Implications: the method to stay popular politically by relying on adopting populist policies to buy rural voters has its limit in Malaysia whereas it still has a long way to go in Thailand.
There police has surprisingly put up an almost model performance in handling the protest march by UMNO Youth and Perkasa today in Penang. Features: the police allowed 2 hours of unhindered march through the city by almost 300 marchers. No one was asked for any permit. During the march there was minimum presence of police-not even traffic police. There were 4-5 police assigned to block the marchers-even that was done more or less symbolically-not to stop them. 8 persons were arrested not so much for marching but for trying to enter KOMATR by force. In fact one of them Ezam Mohd Nor turned himself in to augment the number of arrested persons, after the event. Police only concentrate at KOMTAR to safeguard the administrative centre of the state government. Even when the marchers stopped traffic on the busy Penang Bridge only a few police and a few bridge management personnel came to monitor the situation. Even after 3 journalists were intimidated up to the point of being punched, there was no one arrested at the march.A sign of `tolerance’?
Police should help to make Bersih 2 rally orderly — PKR Lanang chiarman
Posted on July 1, 2011, Friday
SIBU: The chairman of PKR Lanang Division George Chen suggests that the police should help to ensure that the planned Bersih 2 rally on July 9 in Kuala Lumpur will be a peaceful one rather than stopping the people from taking part.
He said the rally should be allowed to go on as a platform for the people to seek justice and fairness in the coming general election.
Najib has been reported to say that people must follow the laws and adhere to lawful channels to submit their complaints. But what laws is he talking about? Firstly the police which has been complained for slow action on crimes suddenly become super-alert to arrest anyone wearing the Bersih t-shirt. 115 people had been nabbed so far. If it were 115 criminals that would have earned accolades from the tax-payers. But the police go after people who want the government to enforce anti-corruption and anti-election offenses laws on the big time law breakers. Before the ruling party bother to follow the laws made by themselves they actually send the police like attack dogs to get people to follow what is nothing more than their whimsical, capricious pronouncements! Follow the police is definitely not the same as follow the laws-noting that every year crooked cops make up a notable chunks of crooks sent to the court!
Many local and international condemnations rain down on the BN government which try to supppress Bersih’s campaign for free elections:
URGENT APPEAL: 1 July 2011
STOP THE CAMPAIGN OF INTIMIDATION AND HARRASMENT
OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
SUARAM condemns the on-going campaign of intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders by United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) linked organisations and individuals. In the space of less than a week, more than 100 individuals have either been arrested or ‘detained for questioning’, peaceful gatherings have been dispersed, yellow t-shirts have been ‘outlawed’, and threats of violence have been uttered; all because the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has called for a mass rally on 9 July to demand electoral reforms. This intimidation campaign appears to have the tacit approval of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, as seen in incidents where the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) allowed thugs to intimidate and harass peaceful gatherings.