I tried very hard to refrain from writing about the hottest news of the week – Bersih. But it was really proving to be a temptation beyond endurance so to speak. The Bersih movement has certainly morphed into a political monster. The premise of the Bersih’s demand is quite simple. All they want is a reform to clean up the election system in this country. This group believed that, had the system been well and truly transparent, the opposition would have won more seats in the last general election. The Bersih group is obviously driven by the opposition parties and their NGOs ilks. They are also worried that they would be losing more seats than what they had gained in the coming general election. Hence the drive to force the government to cleanse (Bersih) the election system. What actually being dirty are not quite clear. The election commission has repeatedly stressed that, the election system is as transparent that it could practically be. The demands of the opposition are not reasonable. Further, most of the demands has been met. Changes to the election system would require legislative changes and it should be done within such channel not through shouting from the rooftops or taking to the streets. Of course the government is quite reluctant to change what is already perceived to be almost perfect system and has served them well for the last 54 years. If ain’t broken why fix it. So all the noises made by the opposition to force the change would not likely see the light of the day. So the oppositions were virtually had little choice but taking to the streets which have been proven to be successful many times before, as quite clearly shown in Egypt recently.
On one hand normal citizens like us was upset with the police for making life very difficult by barricading the city centre as well as putting up blocks at all entries to KL. Just like we are going to war one politician puts it. Not to mention the losses suffered by the shop owners in KL, petrol and time wasted in wading through the jam. The government is embarking on a massive publicity campaign to force people to blame the Bersih group as the root of all the disruptions. Had they not started the whole thing, there would not be any needs for road blocks, riot police, red trucks, tear gas, massive police presence in the city, etc. Things would be going on as usual. On the other hand the Bersih group believed that they should be allowed to march and deliver the memorandum to the King. They would be no massive disruption, just like when they marched to the American Embassy on many occasions previously. Unless provoked, there would be very little danger of things would go awry.They are peaceful people – so they said. Police, being the custody of peace and security in this country on the other hand, is worried that any slight provocation by some agent provocateur would create chaos. With huge crowd it would be very difficult to control once things began to heat up. All it takes just a little scuffle, one stupid angry remark, a little explosion, or even a slight fall can easily ballooned to a full scale riot. From their past experience and intelligent works, I am sure the police would not want to risk it. Ultimately the bucks stops with them.
I reckon the government negotiation and communication skills has not been quite successful in this case. All the incessant sabre rattling in the mass media daily has hardened the resolve of the Bersih people. I do not know. Maybe there is something that the Government knew that we are not privy to. Maybe the police see that their current action is the best solution. As for the “rakyat marhaen” like us, I suggest get your kuaci or kacang and sit in front of that idiot box. Maybe we could get a glimpse of the pretty Nurul Izzah or the handsome Husam Musa being led away by the police.
Wah, all this Bersih thing has really snuff out my ideas to write on the launch of the PBS document in Bangi yesterday. Anyway, congratulation is in order again folks for the job well done. By now, streaming live to EduwebTv would be a routine job. But live being live, there is always the danger of the black screen.