Monday, 11 July 2011

Bersih 2.0: The Najib regime blew three chances at redeeming themselves

Murphy's Law was probably thought up with the Najib regime in mind. In my opinion, the Najib regime had three chances to come out honourably from the Bersih 2.0 rally but they fucked everything up.

The first was when Bersih 2.0 invited all parties to walk with them to demand for clean and fair elections. I see nothing wrong with that. It was an open invitation to both the ruling party and the opposition parties. The Najib regime could have declared that yes, they were also for clean and fair elections and yes, let us work with you to improve on the electoral process. That way, they could have been seen as above board and they wouldn't be viewed with the deep suspicion as now.

Like I mentioned earlier, there can not be two ways about it. You either support the Bersih 2.0 cause for clean and fair elections, or you do not. By demonising Bersih 2.0, my only conclusion is that the Najib regime is not bersih (clean) and can only be kotor (dirty). Who can blame me for believing this? So the Najib regime failed in this respect and they should not blame the Opposition for supporting this cause. Najib, you had your first chance and you blew it!

The second was when Najib offered Bersih 2.0 the use of a stadium for their rally, instead of walking through the streets. Initially, I had thought that this was a magnaminous offer, an olive branch, a compromise made after the request by the Agong to avoid using the roads of Kuala Lumpur. But what happened after that? The Najib regime went back on their words. No use of any stadium in Kuala Lumpur, they demanded. Looking back, this smacked of insincerity, a plot to throw Bersih 2.0's plans into disarray. The regime could have regained some goodwill by opening up the Stadium Merdeka for this purpose. But they didn't. Najib, you had your second chance and you blew it!

There was still a third chance at redemption. Now, knowing jolly well that Bersih 2.0 was proceeding with their plans, the Najib regime brought in 7,000 policemen to shut down the Kuala Lumpur city centre. On the day of the rally, the policemen appeared in battle gear, all ready to confront unarmed citizens who only wanted to walk for clean and fair elections.

Now, if the Najib regime still had their brains with them, they would have used this opportunity to direct the policemen not to confront the people with chemical-laced water cannons or tear gas cannisters or shields and batons but be ambassadors for the government by ensuring that the walk to the Stadium Merdeka would be smooth. So what if the doors into the stadium remained shut. The whole objective was to walk to the stadium anyway. And if the policemen on duty can marshall the people along without incident - be a friend rather than an enemy - a lot of the tension would have been dissipated. Najib, you had your third chance and you blew it!

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