Bersih 3.0 is unnecessary ... — Stephen Ng
APRIL 10 — Bersih 3.0 is unnecessary. I wish to qualify my statement, after reading Home Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein’s response to Bersih 3.0 in Parliament today.
Hishammuddin said that the Bersih 3.0 rally can proceed in the spirit of the new Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
It is good that the minister has finally learnt that if the government continues to fight civil society, it will spell the doom of Barisan National. Already the coalition has been in power for far too long — any ordinary person, upon reaching 55, would have gone into retirement.
One scandal after another has been uncovered by the Pakatan, thanks to people like Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Mat Sabu, but there are more questions than answers to these scandals. Billions of ringgit have gone into a blackhole.
The Bank Bumiputra scandal, the Perwaja scandal, the PKFZ scandal, the NFC scandal, the “copgate” scandal, the “Amangate” scandal, scandals involving Taib Mahmud (CM of Sarawak), the inhumane death of Altantuya, the missing jet engines, Lynas issue, Project IC in Sabah (and what appears to be happening also in Peninsular Malaysia with the 6P programme) — the list goes on.
As reported by college lecturer Dr Ong Kian Ming, another 100,000 dubious voters have been discovered in the electoral roll, on top of the other ones reported by political parties. Totalling up, it is a whopping figure of 400,000 dubious voters detected in the existing electoral roll. Ong is quoted saying: “This could be just the tip of the iceberg.” Even MIMOS, as an independent party, had uncovered some 200,000 dubious voters.
The current election machinery, since the gerrymandering done by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is skewed towards helping Barisan Nasional retain a simple majority without any difficulty.
During the GE 12 in 2008, it took only 18 per cent of the voters to help BN remain in power in Putrajaya. These voters in small parliamentary seats are the kingmakers because they determine the future of the country, delivering more than 112 seats to BN. Despite public pressure, the redelineation of constituencies has not been carried out to address the imbalance in the number of voters per constituency.
Unless there is a 100 per cent voter turnout on polling day, where the young and old alike are taking their votes seriously, it would be impossible to topple the BN government. This is what the rakyat has to understand the reason, why Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Datuk A. Samad Said, co-chairpersons of Bersih 2.0, called for the sit-down protest.
I urge the Bersih 3.0 steering committee to go beyond the sit-down protest. The participants in Bersih 3.0 should be encourage to attend voter education provided by civil society groups such as Tindak Malaysia and equip themselves to serve as election watchdogs on polling day. They should come ready with both video and still cameras to capture anything that could later be used as evidence to show that cheating has taken place.
At this juncture, it is unlikely that the present government under Najib, and the Election Commission in particular, will voluntarily clean up the electoral roll with the help of independent representatives from the Bersih steering committee. In the first place, the Election Commission continues to operate as though the call by the Bersih steering committee to resign did not exist.
Najib, knowing that he has to depend on the EC to win the coming general election, has chosen to remain silent, but his silence is not golden. In fact, his silence and the flip flop way he handled Bersih 2.0 are a clear indication of his weakness as a leader. He has at best shown himself to be untrustworthy and trying to confuse the rakyat over his real motives. The Jalan Sultan MRT controversy is a good example.
Najib no longer talks about his favourite slogan, “People first.” If he had remained true to his words, Bersih 3.0 would not be necessary. I repeat, Bersih 3.0 is unnecessary IF the government under Prime Minister Najib Razak is listening to the voice of the rakyat, as spelt out by the Bersih 3.0 steering committee.
* Stephen Ng reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.