In Sarawak today, PM Najib said the government is willing to provide mineral water and food to those who participated in the Bersih 3.0. He said those who participated should not cause any ruckus and discomfort to the public.
Honestly, we did not cause any damage or ruckus. It was a peaceful, carnival like and tame affair until the police started to act unruly. Instead of offering us mineral water and food, we ended up being severely affected by tear gas and water canon fired on more than tens of thousands of crowd packed along Masjid Jamek.
As an elected government, the use of tear gas, which is vicious and terrible, should not even be considered as an option. Malaysian voters should not be treated like criminals. Ironically, this government is treating foreign migrants better than its own citizens. It was alleged that thousands of foreign migrants, especially those from Indonesia and Philippines, have been given instant citizenship so that they could vote for the regime.
There is no issue where the peaceful demonstration should be held. The focal point is not the venue but the right to organize a free and peaceful assembly. The government must walk its talk to guarantee a peaceful assembly and not doing all it can to frustrate and curtail it.
As a voter and a participant of Bersih 3.0, I find it extremely offending that tear gas, water canon and brute force have been used against us.
If the KL mayor cannot handle and accommodate a peaceful demonstration in KL, he should allow others who are more flexible to sit on his chair. Peaceful demonstrations are very common in all top cities. When I was in Amsterdam, the authorities had cooperated and helped to coordinate a mammoth demonstration led by the Muslims to bring public attention to their issues and social status.
The detention of several newspaper photographers who have photographed alleged police brutality is another example of abuse of power and an unwarranted intimidation by the police against free press in Malaysia.
PM Najib, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, KL Mayor Ahmad Fuad and IGP should be held jointly responsible for the chaos, damage and injuries inflicted on Bersih participants.
Barisan Nasional should view the clarion call for real electoral reforms as something progressive and good for our country's democracy. UMNO may need these reforms one day. A political party cannot continue to rule indefinitely. They may need a free and fair electoral system when Umno becomes an opposition party in the future. The party should think of its future.