Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak has blamed former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the lower turnout at the Bersih 5 rally today.
“The result of Mahathir and his cronies joining Bersih has seen the turnout drop by nearly 97 percent.
“Malays see through his selfish agenda and refused to attend.
“And the thousands of Chinese Malaysians who attended Bersih last year are so disgusted that Mahathir is involved they stayed at home,” he said in a blog posting shortly after the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur concluded today.
Salleh compared the police’s estimate of 15,500 participants in the Bersih 5 rally to the 500,000 declared by organisers in the Bersih 4 rally.
“Even if you take the figure supplied by Malaysiakini, today’s total was no higher than 41,000 - less than 10 percent of the figure Bersih claimed last year,” he said.
Malaysiakini’s estimate referred to the peak crowd during the eight-hour Bersih 5 rally today.
The 500,000 figure declared by Bersih in the Bersih 4 rally were based on participants that came and went during its 36-hour rally in September last year.
Malaysiakini had estimated the peak crowd in that rally to be at 100,000.
Salleh said the turnout at the Bersih 5 rally today was a serious setback to Mahathir and his newly-formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) which was supposedly supposed to bring in Malay support.
“Thankfully, democracy is now firmly entrenched in Malaysia. It cannot be overrun on the whims of one old man who has admitted to being a dictator when in power.
“The vast majority of Malaysians have rejected the hypocrisy of Bersih, and rejected Pribumi.
“They can see it is a party of has-beens and failures, created only out of Mahathir’s desperation for his son to become prime minister after Umno rejected him,” he said.
The Bersih 5 rally today took place amid threats by the red-shirts which saw some 4,000 people turning up.
However, the red-shirts failed to sustain its rally and faded away by afternoon.
The Bersih 5 rally ended at 6pm.- Mkini