End the charade, revoke the ban on Bersih 2.0 and drop all charges against the 1,600 Bersih demonstrators and others related to wearing Bersih T-shirts or yellow
By Lim Kit Siang
On the occasion of the sixth yellow Saturday, I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to end the Barisan Nasional government charade for the past two months, revoke the ban on Bersih 2.0 and drop all charges against the 1,600 Malaysians arrested for taking part in the peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections on July 9 and all others related to Bersih 2.0 rally, including those for wearing Bersih T-shirts or just wearing yellow.
Let the Prime Minister and all Barisan Nasional Ministers come out openly to admit that they had gravely mishandled the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections, which are the most pertinent, legitimate and democratic aspirations of right-thinking Malaysians so that the Malaysian electoral process can win the support, confidence and legitimacy of Malaysian voters.
It is no answer to the Bersih 2.0 rally for the Barisan Nasional Ministers and the Election Commission to counter that if the electoral system is as flawed as alleged by Bersih 2.0, Pakatan Rakyat and the civil society, then Pakatan Rakyat would not have won in five states or denied the Barisan Nasional two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 2008 general elections.
The simple and truthful response to such an argument is that if not for the flawed electoral system, more than five states would have fallen to the Pakatan Rakyat parties and at the national level, the Pakatan Rakyat parties might even be within distance of replacing the Barisan Nasional government in Putrajaya.
Whether such a scenario would have taken place is highly debatable and one could argue until the cows come home without a conclusion but what is undoubtedly beyond dispute is that the Pakatan Rakyat parties would definitely have made more electoral gains whether at the state or parliamentary levels in the 2008 general elections if the flaws in the electoral system had not been present.
The high-handed government and police action on Bersih 2.0 rally have brought the worst publicity and image to Malaysia during Najib’s short tenure as Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional Ministers should make immediate amends for their gross misjudgement and mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally and show respect for their peaceful and patriotic expression by Malaysians regardless of race and religion who had courageously supported the Bersih 2.0 rally despite most unjustified and horrendous threats and intimidations by the various apparatus of government and their proxies.
In fact, the Prime Minister should show appreciation that the Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally of some 50,000 Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, age and gender is so far the best and most outstanding demonstration of the true 1Malaysia concept – which he had promoted but not gone much beyond sloganeering since acceding the highest office of the land.