|Kee Thuan Chye|
|Monday, 11 July 2011 09:34|
WHAT the Bersih 2.0 rally of July 9 has shown is that Malaysians of all races are willing to risk arrest to speak up for their rights; that Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali is nothing but hot air and the media should no longer give him any attention; that Umno Youth is just a directionless bunch of brats; and, above all, that the Government is the biggest loser for mishandling the entire issue.
As it was, the rally turned out to be peaceful, as the organizers had pledged it would be. The only acts of violence were those committed by the police, when they attacked the protestors with teargas and water cannons although the latter did not provoke them. In retrospect, if the Government had allowed the rally to go on without fuss from the start – and it must be said that Bersih 2.0 (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) asked modestly for only two hours, from 2pm to 4pm – it would have just gone on without fuss, and everything would have been all right.
The Government would have been seen to be accommodating and benevolent, and not afraid of a call for fair elections. Instead, by choosing to clamp down on the rally even weeks before its scheduled date – in ways as brutal as detaining six people under the Emergency Ordinance and as absurd as arresting more than 200 people, some for merely wearing yellow T-shirts – it has lost immense favor and, some analysts say, the middle ground. It is also seen to be insecure, and irrational in its overreacting to the rally, surely not a trait of good governance.
*The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer.