In a move meant to warn the pro-free election group Bersih the de-facto Minister of law said that Bersih will `face the music’ if they take to the street again. The news is strange: didn’t Bersih 2 on July 9th given that treatment already? What is new here? After the `Freedom of Assembly’ bill a minister is refuting it in action by objecting to a citizen group trying to test the `freedom of assembly’ ! Or was it really a `Ban on assembly’ bill? ANyway the interesting thing from his speech was: he claimed to have more support from the voters than the NGO that brought tens of thousands of citizens-who risj `facing the music’ -to speak out for free poll. Is it true? The anti-free poll group tried to rally their supporters to rival Bersih rally. They didn’t succeed-whether from the UMNO Youth group or Perkasa. So: what is he talking about? If citizens can’t assemble to express their opinions peacefully is it not prove enough that there is no free poll in the country? How can a party go about spreading its ideas if they can’t assemble their supporters? May be this is the point: they just don’t want to allow free contest of ideas/policies -so they stop anyone other than themselves to hold public assemblies.
If Bersih 3.0 takes to streets, they’ll face the music
Should the pro-electoral reform group Bersih take to the streets yet again, it will face the music, de facto law minister Nazri Aziz warns.
“You go to the streets, then you face the law,” Nazri said at a press conference in Putrajaya today.
He was responding to news reports that the outlawed NGO, dissatisfied with the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reforms for not picking up all the eight reforms it suggested, may hold a repeat performance of its previous Bersih and Bersih 2.0 mass rallies, held in 2008 and last July respectively.
Chiding the NGO for such tactics, Nazri added that if it wanted to see reforms carried out, it should use the proper channels.
“They do not have any business to go to the streets.
“We have a system of elected representatives that represent the rakyat. A system to go through if you want to improve things.
“If they want to influence change, they should use the system,” Nazri added.
NONEHe also questioned the locus standi of Bersih and its chief S Ambiga (left) to represent anyone in their clamour for electoral reforms.
“Who are they? They are nobody… Who are the NGOs supporting them? I don’t know them. They just represent, what, 50, 100, 200 people…?
“They said 50,000 came (to the Bersih 2.0 rally). What is that compared to the representatives like me, elected by the rakyat?
“We represent the people as an elected government,” argued the Padang Rengas MP.
‘Ambiga a nobody’
Nazri also accused Ambiga of being a “wannabe, nobody, start-up” who only wanted to win a candidacy in the next general election and was beneath his attention as a full federal minister.
“She is a nobody. She’s got no locus standi… she is not elected.
“I can’t even attack her as she is a nobody. If I do that it would not look good for me as a minister. It looks like I am bullying her,” Nazri sniped.
He added that there was no obligation for the PSC to take all of Bersih’s suggestions for the movement to feel slighted, just as there was no obligation on the Election Commission (EC) to implement all of PSC’s recommendations.
“The EC is independent, from the executive as well as the legislative or anyone else,” Nazri reasoned.
Asked about the acquittal of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in his recent Sodomy II trial and whether the government would appeal, Nazri refused to comment, saying that it wa up to attorney-general (AG) Gani Patail and the government should not interfere.
“According to the constitution, the AG can appeal. And we must also ensure that Saiful Bukhari Azlan (Anwar’s accuser) has the opportunity to seek justice. These, I believe, should be the two considerations on the appeal,” he opined.