PETALING JAYA: The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has questioned the need for five weeks of effort to intimidate Bersih organisers and supporters if it was true that the people were fed up with Bersih, as claimed yesterday by the Prime Minister, Najib Razak.
He said today: “If Najib was confident that Malaysians have become fed up with Bersih or feel that its rallies do not bring benefit to the country, why was it necessary for Najib’s strategists to launch a six-week high-powered campaign to demonise, frustrate and thwart it?”
“Najib’s government should have just left the proposed Bersih 5 rally alone, and not abused state resources and powers to sabotage it.”
Lim said that if it was true that Malaysians were fed up with Bersih, then yesterday’s Bersih 5 rally would have been a dismal failure. Najib could have then credibly pointed to the futility of Bersih’s efforts.
Yesterday, tens of thousands of people took part in rival street demonstrations in the centre of Kuala Lumpur organised by the Bersih electoral reform group and the pro-establishment Red Shirts movement.
Police arrested the leaders of both movements, Maria Chin Abdullah and Jamal Md Yunos, and more than 15 others for alleged offences relating to the rallies.
Lim said the Bersih 5 rally had been an unqualified success and praised the professionalism of the police on duty on the streets who kept the rallies incident-free.
However he condemned the arrests of rally activists and six opposition politicians and demanded their immediate release.
He said Maria Chin’s detention for alleged activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy was a “vicious, vengeful and vindictive” act.