Bersih 3.0 a HUGE success: Writing on the wall for Najib despite 'killjoy' police attack
There seems to be a new trick to suppress pro-Opposition websites such as Malaysia Chronicle. Readers may be able to access and even put their comments on the latest Bersih 3.0 coverage BUT the portal is not able to publish new articles until much later - in our case only just after 8am Sunday morning.
Obviously this means ONLY the views and news of the establishment - Prime Minister Najib Razak's government - gets out, influencing and bending public perceptions to their advantage.
For Malaysia Chronicle, after checking with several IT experts, we suspect sabotage as it was more than 13 hours since we were suddenly 'disabled' and no solution could be found. It was indeed amazing!
Pre-planned and ruthless police and media attack
It is clear that the police action against the protesters was unjustified and unnecessarily harsh. This was confirmed by all who reported on the ground for us. Nearly 400 people were arrested, scores injured.
There were also signs of manipulation, the use of agent provocateurs as well as bad faith by the Umno-controlled media. Some of these portals reported total crowd size of only 50,000, even giving breakdowns of how many participants at each location. One website went so far as to report that 'tak sampai 4,000 yang berdemo' (less than 4,000 people came to the demo).
Another dangerous manipulation was a news report that Bersih committee member Wong Chin Huat had admitted Bersih lost control of the crowd. Malaysia Chronicle did some checks and found this to be untrue. Bersih will be issuing a full statement shortly.
Such despicable actions cannot be condoned, although underhanded tactics can be expected given Umno-BN's past record of using the media to color the people's perception to its advantage. In the coming months, new and even more devious methods of propaganda will be used to smear Bersih and of course the Pakatan Rakyat Opposition.
Largest ever people's assembly
Later on Sunday, Bersih will hold a press conference together with the 6 international observers who came to asses the Election Commission's processes and who were also present at the April 28 mammoth rally.
Indeed, the crowd size of 250,000 to 300,000 makes Bersih 3.0 the largest ever people's assembly in Malaysian history.
To an extent, the Najib administration can be counted on to hold its hand until the observers are safely out of the country. What happens after that is hard to predict, but on the cards are prosecution under the new security laws for both Bersih and Pakatan leaders.
Najib must take responsibility
Malaysians, who attended Bersih 3.0, must demand answers for what happened on Saturday - why did something joyous suddenly turn so nasty? From all the videos that have come out on You Tube, it was clear everyone was having a good time until it was marred at 3pm when the police fired tear gas into the crowd WITHOUT warning.
There was only one hour left to go before the rally was due to finish at 4pm. Which Bersih protester would be crazy enough to defy discipline at such a time when the mood was so happy and harmonious?
The answer - only those who wanted to discredit the 250,000 to 300,000-strong display of support for Bersih! And guess who that would be!
Najib Razak, the country's 6th prime minister, has been hiding his hand but can the police react in such a manner without his OK?
If it was just a sporadic breach of discipline at one or several scattered spots, why the continued hounding of protesters until way past 7pm?
Why the widespread use of tear gas and water canons?
Throwing the blame on Pakatan
PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad has been reported as assuring such police brutality would not be tolerated if Pakatan came to power. If that is so, Malaysian must ensure they vote for Pakatan to safeguard their own lives.
This may sound partisan, but until Najib demands an explanation from the police and sacks the Inspector General of Police for the unwarranted violence, the people have every right to impute conspiracy and bad faith.
"Police who are professional would never act this way but instead try to control the situation, safeguard the public including the demonstrators because the police have weapons but the people do not," said Khalid.
But would Najib sack Ismail Omar? After all, did he sack Shahrizat Jalil?
The response from Umno Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was a study in sharp contrast to Khalid's. It was clear Hisham was laying the ground for the Najib administration's next course of action - to blame the Pakatan and Bersih for the rally.
Azmin Ali, the PKR deputy chief, can brace to be pinpointed for allegedly asking demonstrators whether they wished to sit on the Dataran padang. Azmin's comment that the Dataran did not belong to DBKL was not only reported by the Star but highlighted several times on Twitter by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin on Saturday.
GE-13 won't be in June
It is very likely that Najib and Umno will watch national and world reaction very closely before taking their next step. As far as possible, they will try to turn the tables on Bersih and blame Pakatan for the police brutality, in particular Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali.
One thing for sure, the 13th general election won't be in June anymore. It will be delayed but that does not mean Najib will concede to a cleanup of the electoral roll. For that to happen, the people will have to keep demanding. Bersih 4.0 may have to be called.
Malaysians must not allow the police crackdown on Saturday to scare them from retracting their demands for free and fair polls. Does it even make sense to do so? Instead, they must bounce back even harder and demand that if Najib does not put in electoral reforms before GE-13 and if he once again allows the police to behave in that barbaric way again, they will march to Putrajaya instead of Dataran to throw him and his Cabinet out.
Let us not forget, there was no reason for the City Hall's ban on the usage of the Dataran Merdeka nor for the 11th hour court order. If anyone had planned and is to blame for the police violence, Najib has to take responsibility.
"On reviewing what happened and how it took place, the attack was pre-planned. Police used extreme violence to provoke public retaliation. The aim was to make Bersih look bad," PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua, who was only released from detention at around 5am Sunday morning, told Malaysia Chronicle.
But Bersih 30 was actually a HUGE SUCCESS
Bersih 3.0 is not the first and will not be the last of Malaysia's numerous political conspiracies.
Certainly, this will be the worst time for Malaysians to lose faith. By gagging the opposition media, Umno-BN will be able to enforce their own propaganda on an unsuspecting public. Those portals that have so far been fairly neutral can be counted on to suddenly 'activate' and churn out deliberately false reports to discredit Bersih and Pakatan. Much like 'sleepers' or agent 'moles' or Trojan horses activating themselves in the enemy camp when the signal is given.
Lastly, lest we forget the good moments of Bersih 3.0 - it was certainly a magnificent victory for the people. We should celebrate the people's coming of age, while fighting for justice for those who were badly beaten up at the same time.
We should also chase the Najib administration and demand to settle the score for his act of trying to deny the people of their happiness and success by pulling the police crackdown and City Hall stunt. Not only does Dataran Merdeka not belong to City Hall, Malaysia does not belong to Najib or Umno.
No longer afraid
Bersih 3.0 showed that Malaysians are no longer afraid of the establishment.
This is a major first step. The next step is to not be afraid to demand that ANY government of the day has the ability to rein the police and the agencies. If the Najib administration cannot, then it must go. The people must continue to show that they are the boss and Malaysia belongs to them.
In the meantime, support Bersih and Pakatan in the fight for justice for those injured, while not forgetting the war for free and fair polls. More than ever, Malaysians must show they will not back down to such crass bullying.
Most of all, Malaysians must NEVER bow to a government and prime minister so callous they have no compunction in sacrificing the safety and well-being of their citizens just to cling to power.
To borrow from one of the most popular chants during the Bersih rally - HIDUP RAKYAT!