Najib’s response to the criticisms on the way he handled the Bersih rally run along the line that he has under-reacted on the rally -but it was necessary to stop future rallies. While most of the audience among the international press may not agree with him the implications of what he said may not have been fully drawn out for all to understand: does he mean that he actually think that the Bersih rally should be dealt with by shooting live ammunition as happen to dictators else where? What are exactly his standards of `appropriate’ response when none of the Bersih rallies in the 25 cities in the world ever suffer any water cannon or tear gas attacks-let alone elbow lock on the neck and kick on the head? How far does he want t go to satisfy his misguided `need’ to stop further rallies?
Next the aim by Najib itself is simply laughable-and fly in the face of international standards of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. He confirmed the suspicion that people have of him as a laughing (but bloody) tiger. He had been reported to say that UMNO can bring even more people to the street-but he did not think it was responsible of him to do it. MCA’s president also made a similar offer to bring tens of thousands of their members to the street of KL. However the public do not buy this: for NGO and Opposition to assemble anywhere in the country they are threatened, deny permit, and declare illegal, their supporters/organisers detained, their offices raided etc. The number who still come out stand for 100 more who are intimidated from turning up.
If UMNO/MCA were to bring the same number to the KL street they may need to be paid transport and hotel stays-and yet they may spend government money to do it, inclear contrast to the Bersih supporters who come at their own cost and risk! For 1 Bersih participant the contribution is worth 10 of UMNO or MCA who are fully compensated for coming. And more importantly the participants of Bersih has clearer idea and stronger determination why they were there than would be UMNO/MCA folks who may just come because it is an all-expense paid trip to KL!
Then the PM finally tell the world that the PDRM lied to its own people when he claimed that 15 000 Malaysians turned up at the Bersih rally-200% more than what the police spokeperson Amar Singh said to the home press just hours ago. Bersih has similarly scaled down its claim of 50 000 turning up to 25 000. So taking 20 000 as the medium figure would be `safe’. Let’s see when UMNO and MCA are going to bring their `crowds’ to KL-when their `million youth’ gatherings on the road side of Putrajaya only got a report of 2000 youth gathering at its peak time! Let’s also see if the UMNO/MCA crowds behave in the exemplary ways of being peaceful by the Bersih participants!
Bersih rally also prove it again that the predictions of UMNO are self-serving. They claimed that the multi-racial populations of Malaysia is a combustible mixture like petrol. According to their media propaganda it only takes 1 person to instigate the whole crowd to turn into a violent and fratricidal mob! This view that Malaysians are capable of spontaneous `rioting’ is worst than the colonialist’s prejudice that the different ethnic groups in Malaya cannot rule themselves if given independence! The `prediction’ also echo the same by the Burmese hunta against Aung San Su Kyi going out of her house to speak to her supporters.
Well,that `prediction’ did not happen-and probably never happen, as proven by numerous multi-racial gatherings in so many years. Malaysians are used to this cross-ethnic cooperation. May 13 riot was very far from now-it was in the last century! UMNO is simply closing its eyes to it to stop Malaysians to unite against its misrule. If that were the case it is abusing its power over public security when it rallied the PDRM to fight its perceived political opponents-who are also the citizens of the country!