Malaysians brace for nation's largest-ever people's rally, Bersih 3.0
Never in Malaysia's history has there been such open resentments toward the government until recently. Never too has the government been given the middle finger in such a decisive way, with the people voting for the opposition in 2008, giving Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and the Pakatan Rakyat an unprecedented number of seats in Parliament and control of five states.
Indeed, never in the nation's history has corruption been so high and rampant as now. Never too has national debt ballooned to RM460 billion and edging the country towards bankruptcy. And never in Malaysian election history has the government increased the number of voters by hundreds of thousands, openly and unashamedly using illegal immigrants.
Malaysia has always been blessed with an industrious people whose hard work and toil have always set the economy chugging along despite government wastage, leakage and outright corruption. Yet the decline has been marked and impossible to ignore. Look at the recent RM500 cash aid to households earning below RM3,000 per month. That alone speaks volumes for the loss in value of the ringgit, eaten away by spiraling inflation and costs of living. And never have Malaysian children been burdened with debts, forced to take on study loans, just as they are starting their lives.
With such wrong doing, mismanagement, corruption, abuse of power, double standards, rising racism and little prospect of change given the weak leadership from Najib Razak, undeniably the worst prime minister ever, Malaysians are indeed at a crossroad. What we need is change. Real change; by struggling for it and not just lamenting or complaining with never-ending arguments about whose fault it is.
This is what most Malaysians are feeling these days. They have reached the stage when they know they have to take action into their own hands. And this feeling will only snowball, gathering momentum and anger until change is effected.
The first significant evidence was seen in the 2008 general election, where there was a voter revolt against the Umno-BN. The next was the landmark July 9, 2011 Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections. On April 28, Malaysians are expected to follow through by thronging the Bersih 3.0 rallies due to be held nationwide and in 70 cities in 29 countries.
What a statement this will make to the world - that Najib and Umno-BN have to cheat at the polls just to stay in power. It is indeed a shame but a punishment well deserved if they continue with their outdated authoritarian fashion of putting their own vested interests ahead and at the expense the people.
This is why Malaysians are getting themselves ready for the Bersih gatherings on Saturday. Election watchdog Bersih has provided a platform that is the most unifying, putting true Malaysian brotherhood and sisterhood above creed, ethnicity, religious belief and political views. The goal is simple - clean and fair elections. Why? So that what the people want is properly and duly registered through their vote.
Otherwise, the Umno-BN will continue with its stranglehold on the people. It is their will and agenda that will be imposed on the people. So come, let us defy the obstacles, blockades, threats, water cannons and tear gas. In Kuala Lumpur, it is the Dataran Merdeka but wherever you are, just go to the nearest Bersih 3.0 rally point. Sit down and show Najib and Umno-BN that you are serious, that you want your vote to count.
On world watch
To those who hesitate for fear of physical danger, it is true the security forces can choose to come down hard on us. There may be scuffles, water canons and tear gas. But this time in Bersih 3.0, the likelihood is very small because the organizers have declared right from the start that this is a peaceful rally, a Duduk dan Bantah rally.
Najib can still shoot tear gas into the crowd, he can order a crackdown but all he would get would be an immediate Bersih 4.0 and this time the people would march all the way to Putrajaya to throw him and his Cabinet into jail if he dares to ever use violence on his own countrymen.
The world too will be witness to whatever action Najib and his government takes against the people of Malaysia. So fear not. History is now knocking at our door and shame on us if we do not rise to the occasion and stand up for ourselves and families!
History in the making
Together we can make history. Peace and love for each other will be our weapons. Our shields will be our bottles of mineral water, salt and our camera phones. Yes, that's all that's needed. As simple as that. The will of a nation is the will of its people and that is the strength of the nation, not its arsenal or its government.
So to all clear minded and concerned Malaysians, April 28 is the date and 2.00 pm is the time and in Kuala Lumpur, the place is the Dataran Merdeka. Whichever state, city or country you are in - if are Malaysian and love Malaysia and its people - then, we'll see you there!
Be a part of history. Bersih 3.0 is set to be the country's largest-ever civil society-organized rally, with at least half a million in attendance here and worldwide. Above all, it will mark the day when Malaysians finally come out of their shells, of age and into the new world - unafraid to make their demands known and in the rightful way of peaceful assembly.
The age of civil society - of the Rakyat - has finally dawned in Malaysia and it can never be rolled back. Historic indeed.