Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 21st July 2011:
Bersih 2.0 rally – a basketful of faux pas by BN Government, before during and after and still ongoing!
If someone had been assigned beforehand to a special task to script the worst-possible scenarios for the Najib administration in relation to the July 9 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally for fair and free elections, nobody could be so creative as to pre-plan the basketful of faux pas committed by the Barisan Nasional government before, during and after “709” and still ongoing.
The basketful of faux pax before 709 included:
Arbitrary declaration of Bersih 2.0 as unlawful.
Ban on Bersih T-shirts and paraphernalia, to include even yellow T-shirts, coupled with indiscriminate arrests.
Police and government disrespect to the Yang di Pertuan Agong who had met with Bersih 2.0 leaders and suggested a compromise of a stadium rally instead of a march – accepted by Bersih 2.0 but reneged by the authorities.
Police roadblocks causing infernal traffic congestions in and out of Kuala Lumpur and police lockdown of the federal capital on 709, alienating the general public.
Intemperate, extremist threats of counter-demonstrations and racial riots, even another May 13 by Umno Youth and Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali.
Abuse of court process in securing an ex parte injunction to ban 91 Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat leaders and activists from key areas in KL on 709.
Baseless invective and vicious campaign to demonise Bersih leaders, particularly Bersih Chairperson S. Ambiga, with wild and reckless charges to incite religious and racial hatred and tension.
Daily incitement of hate and campaign of lies by BN msm, both printed and electronic, particularly Utusan Malaysia.
Gross abuse of power in the arrest of PSM MP Dr. Michael Jeyakumar and other PSM activists first on the ridiculous charges of “waging war against the Agong” and “reviving communism” and later on EO detention-without-trial for being Bersih activists.
Refusal/failure of the Election Commission to respond to Bersih 2.0’s eight demands for free, fair and clean elections.
High-handed police action of mass arrests and individual cases of police violence and brutality.
Causing death of Baharuddin Ahmad.
Criminal police landrover ramming of PAS Deputy President Mat Sabu on motor-bike.
Reckless and indiscriminate firing of tear gas without notice and into KL sentral tunnel – an enclosed space – heedless of the safety of the Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat leaders and the public.
Wanton and criminal firing of tear gas and chemically-laced water cannon into Tung Shin Hospital grounds.
Najib’s fire-breathing speech to 6,000 UMNO leaders the morning after 709.
Further plunge in public credibility with police and Umno leaders disputing that 50,000 people had gathered in support of Bersih 2.0 rally, with IGP claiming that it was only 6,000, upped to 10,000 by Hishammuddin with Najib later topping it to 15,000 in London!
Denial of responsibility for gross mishandling of 709 Bersih 2.0 rally, in particular denial of police brutality and violence and unwarranted tear gas and water cannon attacks at Tung Shih Hospital (by Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai) and KL sentral tunnel despite mountain of evidence whether eye-witnesses or video.
Warning by the Deputy Finance Minister, Awang Adek that Bank Negara could freeze the assets of Bersih leaders.
Censorship of Economist article “Taken to the cleaners — an overzealous government response to an opposition rally”.
Continued BN msm campaign of lies and falsehoods about imaginary “ghosts” and “foes” to the extent that the Prime Minister’s Department had to issue a rare statement directed to the foreign media only distancing itself from Utusan’s preposterous Bersih-Jewish link to topple the BN government – which also illustrates the impotence of the PM and UMNO President to exercise check and control over Utusan, UMNO official organ.
How is it possible for any government to commit such a basketful of faux pas before, during and after the 709 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally?
As a result, the overseas visit of the Prime Minister to the United Kingdom, the Vatican and France has proved to be quite a disaster with the Prime Minister pursued by the international media over the government’s mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally.
Is Najib capable of finding out why he and his government had gone so seriously wrong in grossly mishandling the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections, causing one faux pax after another and to rectify all these mistakes?
Can Najib and the BN Ministers ever understand that Bersih 2.0 rally was an exquisite and precious national experience where Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region, class, age or gender came together as one Malaysian people bonded by love for the country and a common cause for a just and clean Malaysia – which no amount of flag distribution by Ministers as decided by the Cabinet yesterday can ever duplicate?
It is not too late for Najib to embrace Bersih 2.0 meaning and experience of uniting all Malaysians in a common cause for justice and a clean Malaysia and save his 1Malaysia slogan but he must act fast.
Najib should retire all those responsible for the basketful of faux pax before, during and aftter the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally and as earnest of his seriousness to embrace Bersih 2.0, his first announcement on his return from his overseas trip must include the following:
Lifting the ban on Bersih 2.0 and end the BN’s ridiculous xanthophobia and xanthomania (fear and mania over yellow);
Royal Commission of Inquiry into free, fair and cleans elections to reform the electoral system in time for 13th General Elections;
Immediate and unconditional release of the PSM6 under EO; and
Royal Commission of Inquiry into police excesses over the Bersih 2.0 rally.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor