Najib is doing his road shows to attack Bersih rally purportedly to defend Putrajaya for UMNO/BN-the last being a talk to reported `20 000′ people in Kelantan. No photo to verify the crowd size was available. (Just an aside: why the big crowd attracted to Najib’s rallies never attract the same condemnations of affecting the society as done to Bersih’s rally?)The argument put forward has been the same: Bersih is intended to help Opposition win Putrajaya. Ex-PM Mahathir sing the same tune to a youth assembly, with number unspecified. Looking at this argument it is at most a projection by these politicians who are afraid of a change of power in Putrajaya. They are entitled to be afraid-in view of their bad records at government and also their extended rule -over half a century! While they are entitled to defend their records they are however not entitled to sideline electoral reform no matter if that may favour the Opposition. If they stick to an unfair system all to win the elections they stand accused of the charge that Bersih throw at them! Bersih then has a good reason to insist on the rally since their undisputable appeal for electoral reforms had not been addressed by the leading politicians up to now!
Najib and Mahathir both repeat the argument that the elections in Malaysia are fair on account of Oppositions’ wins in the last general elections. However a win in a handicapped race does not mean the handicaps were not there. Without the handicaps the Oppositions could have taken over already! If the BN did not tap into the huge reservoir of resources, personnel, cash, vehicles, buildings etc of the government it is doubtful if the coalition led by them could defend their position at all! Similarly if the rulingn parties were disallowed to abuse government resources they trully will collapse as predicted! So the reason for them to try their best to focus on the Opposition’s interests on the rally is simply that BN does not afford to fight clean!
So for the citizens and civil society we don’t need to bother who may win or lose. Just stick to the campaign for free and fair elections and let he people choose. If the free and fair elections favour the Opposition parties -so be it. Who is the BN to deny us free and fair elections just because they are scared that BN will lose because of it? The civil society do not owe the BN anything to help it win any elections-especially in view of the abuses of power used by the BN to harass and persecute the civil society all these years. In theory there is no reason why free and fair elections must favour any party-only those who are afraid to lose want to distract public attention from the basic demand from the people/voters that elections must be free and fair as required by the Constitution and international norms!
It is as clear as daylight that many things that the ruling parties are doing to win elections are banned or illegalised in our regional neighbours eg abusing government resources and programs to campaign for their party/candidates. Buy votes with private of public resources. Restrict the right to campaign by the Opposition parties. Appoint non-independent Election Commission from incompetent and BN-bias civil servants. Keep away a big chunk of postal voters from the access by Opposition parties and deploy them to win strategic constituencies. All these would be gone should BN lose its hold on Putrajaya. All these changes will definitely favour the Opposition parties’ chances-no doubt about it. But they deserve such a level playing field-as apply to elections all over the world!
The party which insist on handicaps to themselves are out-dated and out-argued by its critics. Now it is trying all its best to demonised the civil society groups which call for long overdued electoral reforms. It should feel ashamed of itself to want to stick to such handicaps to continue to enjoy power from Putrajaya. Before it lost the votes it had lost legitimacy to run the government if it cannot even allow civil society to rally for free and fair elections, let alone actually implement free and fair elections!
The last argument put forward by the ruling parties is that the Bersih rally will call attention from outside power to interfere into the country. Certainly there must be a cause or else the international community won’t waste theri time here. The BN parties are self conscious that should Bersih succeed to put up a case for free and fair elections to the international community the sanctions from the international community will create huge embarrassment and pressures on the party! It cannot raise its face eg in Thailand where the EC is invited to observe the general elections there. The EC there had the power to throw out hundreds of fraudulent wins by candidates and even dissolve a few parties and even dethrone a couple of governments! The Malaysian EC will find it very difficult to put up a case that the ruling parties are entitled to tap into government resources or monopolise the people funded media, just to name a couple of habits from the BN!
To avoid international community from interfering the best way is to correct our moribund election system-not to outlaw electoral reform groups, not to arrests citizens who advocate positive changes to the electoral systems, not to demonise a rally which should be a fundamental right of the citizens. The DPM Muhyiddin’s attempt to raise zenophobia is actually working against the improvement of the country-he must not get away without being challenged by all fair-minded citizens!
July 02, 2011 17:50 PM
Over 20,000 Turn Up To Meet Najib
PASIR PUTEH, July 2 (Bernama) — More than 20,000 people turned up for a meeting with the Prime Minister at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Aman in Kampung Tok Nik here today — which Datuk Seri Najib said was a clear indication of their support for Umno and opposition to the illegal assembly planned for July 9.
If the attendance for a function organised in an opposition-held state was so high, the support in states under Barisan Nasional rule was certain to be greater still, the Prime Minister said.
Thus, he said, chairman of the coalition planning the illegal assembly S. Ambiga must realise that the people support the struggles and policies of BN and they do not side with the opposition and are against the assembly.
“Ambiga should not think herself so strong. We will not budge at all, fighting for the truth. We will keep our claws,” he said at the gathering.
Also present were Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and Deputy Finance Minister Senator Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin.
Najib said the organisers of the assembly claimed that their aim was to correct the electoral system, but could not explain why PAS was able to hold power in Kelantan for 21 years now.
And in the 2008 general election, he noted, the opposition held on to Kelantan and captured Perak, Penang, Kedah and Selangor.
The Prime Minister said that all this showed that Malaysia was a democratic country and not at all like middle eastern countries such as Egypt where the government claimed 95 per cent of the votes and ruled for 30 years.
In Malaysia, the ruling party only obtained a simple majority in the last national polls and it changed its leaders, he said.
Najib said that BN would not send its supporters in Pasir Puteh to Kuala Lumpur to clash with people involved with the illegal assembly despite their large number.
To do so would cause chaos which could affect economic stability and the progress that BN leaders had brought to the nation through the years, he said.
“We have been building this nation for so long. We do it peacefully. Ambiga wants to ruin all this,” he said.
Najib said the wind of change was sweeping through Kelantan as attested to by the large number of people at the gathering.
He promised that BN would bring development to Kelantan if voted to power in the state.
If there were 20 000 people turning up to support BN then why is there no photo to show the fantastic support that Najib received? Similarly the 15 000 in Sipitang was `reported’ without any verifiable corroboration.