Side Views

In cleaning out Bersih and Suaram, Putrajaya soils itself — Jaleel Hameed

NOV 7 — It is a government that has ruled since Merdeka, but it sure looks like the Alliance and its offspring Barisan Nasional (BN) has to learn some lessons early.

Take Bersih for example, kind sirs in Putrajaya.

What did the government achieve by demonising Bersih every step of the way, from its financing to its office-bearers to declaring it illegal and yet offering to work with the electorai reforms movement?

The answer is nothing, sir.

In fact, the organisation is stronger than ever and its co-chair, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is world renowned as seen by her award from the White House, the French government and now a spot on the global television station, CNN.

And all Bersih are asking for are fair and clean elections in Malaysia, sir. It is an inherent right in any modern democracy. Are we saying Malaysia isn't modern or a democracy, sir?

All the actions against Bersih, sir, says a lot about government that it prefers to demonise its own citizens than guarantee clean polls.

How hard is it to guarantee free and fair elections? Any harder than helping other countries back to their own two feet, working for peace in Mindanao or Lebanon?

Pray tell, sir.

And now the same mistake is being repeated with the human rights group Suaram. Instead of cooperating and finding out if there were kickbacks in the Scorpene submarine deal, the government machinery is going around trying to demonise Suaram.

Why haven't the Putrajaya strategists learnt their lessons? Or are they so dogmatic in their mindset and believe that Malaysia is still in the 1960s or God forbid, sir, the 1980s when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ruled supreme and whispers were only printed in telefaxes?

But it is too late for that now because the barn door is wide open and the horse has bolted. You can go after Suaram all you want but it is not going to stop the French probe into the Scorpene deal.

It is also not going to prevent Malaysians from debating; talking and debating over whether some people have became very rich as a result of the deal.

So the Registrar of Societies can do all it wants to intimidate the Bar Council president, or Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and other Malaysians who have called Suaram a non-governmental organisation (NGO), nothing is going to stop the discussion on the submarine deal.

Not even the action of some hastily put together Umno groups masquerading as NGOs and pro-government bloggers will undo what has been done.

The story is out there, and just like Bersih, Suaram will have their day and tell all, sir.  So stop smearing them because you are just soiling yourself further, sir.

Sir, if you really can adapt to the 21st century, best get out of the way of those who can and will help create a transparent Malaysia. Because that is the way to go for us Malaysians, sir.

* Jaleel Hameed reads The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.



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