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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Najib cannot LEARN: Like Bersih rallies, Janji Demokrasi declared illegal at 11th hour

Najib cannot LEARN: Like Bersih rallies, Janji Demokrasi declared illegal at 11th hour
Given the past experiences with the Bersih 2.0 and 3.0 rallies, few Malaysians were really surprised when news broke that the police had decided to declare the Janji Demokrasi (Promises of Democracy) gathering planned for tonight illegal.
"We did not expect this but we can't really say we are surprised either. We are just shocked at how silly the police and Prime Minister Najib Razak are making themselves over this issue of public demonstrations. It goes totally against Najib's own promise of greater freedom to peaceful assembly and confirms yet again what a sham the government of the day has become in Malaysia," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng toldMalaysia Chronicle.
Janji Demokrasi organiser Maria Chin Abdullah has confirmed receiving a letter from Dang Wangi district police chief Zainuddin Ahmad this afternoon that the gathering was against regulations and should be cancelled.
"I received the letter around 2.15pm by hand. A few policemen came," Maria was reported as saying.
Too late, crowd will still come
However, it may be too late to stop the crowd from showing up in Dataran Merdeka at 10pm tonight where they plan to wear yellow in a show of solidarity and to pressure the BN government for greater democratic space.
The event is organized by Gabungan Janji, a coalition of 47 NGOs, and according to Maria, the 'show will go on'.
"We support their right to take such action [in organising the gathering] and we support their demand to improvise our democractic system," Bersih had said in a statement to clarify that it was not involved in organising the event.
The Umno-controlled media had tried to tarnish the gathering by linking it to Bersih as Maria is also a committee member in the Bersih coalition of NGOs for free and fair elections.
On Monday, Maria and the Preservation of Jalan Sultan Committee (PJSC) had held a two-hour meeting with Dang Wangi police chief Assistant Commissioner Zainuddin Ahmad over Thursday's event, planned specially to take advantage of the long weekend break that gives the people time to get together and show their support for key causes.
Malaysia is due to celebrate its 55th Medreka or Independence Day anniversary on August 31.
PJSC chairman Yong Yew Wei has pledged that their event called ‘Merdeka March for Jalan Sultan’ would be "harmonious, peaceful and joyous". The Merdeka March, which is to garner support for the preservation of heritage buildings in the country, is due to start from the Gospel Hall in Jalan Hang Jebat at 8.30pm.
According to Yong, his group will not carry placards, banners or leaflets in strict compliance with the police advice. As for Janji Demokrasi, Maria has already announced there would be no speeches during their event, except for a poem pto be resented by national laureate A Samad Said. She too has agreed that there will be no placards, banners or slogans during the countdown.
Don't politicize?
Oddly, the Inspector General of Police himself had a day ago promised that the gathering could take place. “There will be no issue as long as they follow the rules to gather peacefully,” IGP Sri Ismail Omar told the press.
However, Ismail was ridiculed for his comments that Malaysians should celebrate the day without politicising it. “We should celebrate the day in peace. There should be no room for indifferences and political agendas,” Ismail had said.
His comments were derided because Najib himself had chosen for this year's Merdeka celebration the theme ofJanji diTepati or Promises Fulfilled in a bid to ramp up public sentiment for his government ahead of general elections which are widely expected to be called soon.

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