Kindred spirit / Pakatan Rakyat / Politics in general

Bersih 2.0 Exposed – Bersih Is Politics

I received this email from one of the readers few days ago. I copied it here for the benefit of the readers out there. Thank you.

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I found this article on BERSIH v2.0 (forwarded from a friend in the UK) very factual, balanced and insightful.

If you love Malaysia, love the truth and hate dirty politics, please forward this article to all your friends.

Regards,

Azhari

Bersih 2.0 Exposed – Bersih Is Politics

The Bersih 2.0 rally on the 9th July 2011 caught the attention of our political leaders as well as the international media.

I am fortunate to be working overseas for the last 10 years. I do love Malaysia and look forward to come back once I have completed my career goals. As a proud citizen of Malaysia, I would like to provide an independent assessment and inject some rational thinking on the current situation.

Many Malaysians who joined the rally on the 9th July 2011 have witnessed the level of unity in rallying for the same cause, i.e a fair elections for the country. There has not been one event in Malaysia for some time that has rallied so much support to fight for one cause.

Whether it is planned or unplanned, the NGOs and the organizers have rallied support from the political leaders (mainly opposition) to catapult this rally to a different level. While the objectives of the rally were apparently focused purely on electoral reform, most Malaysians surely would recognise that the Bersih rally has become – whether rightly or wrongly – political in nature, much like the protest rallies which took place during the Reformasi days of Anwar Ibrahim in 1997. The logic and rationale behind getting 20,000 – 50,000 people to show up on the streets remains a mystery despite the existence of various open and civilized channels. Even more interestingly, the leader of Bersih 2.0, Datuk Ambiga, was granted an audience with the King several days before the date of the rally, which was ostensibly called so that Bersih 2.0 can hand over a memorandum to the King!

However you look at the Bersih 2.0, one has to give all credit to the organizers for orchestrating a successful event / rally, especially in terms of impacting the thinking of the mass population of Malaysians.

On that note, I think there are generally two groups in this country. The first group is the silent majority (i.e those who prefers to stay home and be with their families in the wake of a rally). This group probably constitutes 80% of our population. Most of the time, they are happy to lead their own lives, and are mostly happy with the way things are in Malaysia. There are probably one or two things they aren’t too happy with, but nothing that would spur them to complain to the newspapers or in the blogs.

The second group is what I consider to be the loud minority. These are folks who are perpetually unhappy over the way things are in our fair country. Maybe they don’t like certain policies which have been put in place (and which have likely contributed in some way or other to the current prosperity and success of our country!) In any case, these are the ones who usually speak (and sometimes scream) the loudest on blogs and Youtube, injecting truth and lies and using emotional or racial sentiments to make their point.

While I respect the right of the 20,000 – 50,000 people that attended the Bersih 2.0 rally to demonstrate peacefully, I feel that they were mostly taken for a ride by the loud minority.

If one were to interview the people on the street who came to the rally on the 9th of July 2011 and ask them the question “What are you fighting for today, sir?”, I can guarantee many of them are not able to answer accurately. The majority of those who turned up on the streets are rempits, pakcik tua on the street, people from the village and some unfortunate urban poor people who were given false hope that rallying alone can somehow change the country.

While many Facebook supporters have “liked” Bersih 2.0 before the rally, you can see only a handful of professionals, private sector people, gathered on the street on the actual day.

What you will hear generally are various answers such as “Walk of democracy”, “We want fair democracy”, “We hate the Government”, “Say no to Corruption”, “Reformasi”, “Allahuakbar”, etc.

From here, you can witness inconsistencies of understanding among those who claim to support Bersih 2.0. This is not surprising, since the Bersih 2.0 organizers are rallying a vast number of different groups (NGOs as well as politically-motivated groups) to support one cause. Hence, the understanding and true intention of Bersih 2.0 was “simplified” to ignite more fire and encourage a herd mentality amongst the people.

The problem with the whole Bersih 2.0 campaign is that people forget to really look at the 8 points that the Bersih proponents are pursuing. Most of the people in the street rally don’t even have a clue about any or all of the 8 points and the argument for and against each of them. The whole thing has evolved into a war of perception which is based on a simplistic divide:

(A) If you support Bersih, then you reject corruption and embrace democracy and you are righteous

(B) If you reject Bersih, then you are dirty, corrupt, anti democracy and wicked

Given this war of perception, it is clear that (A) will win over (B) in terms of popular public support. The opposition joined in on (A) and the Government and the EC, including Barisan Nasional is demonized.

When I watched the Youtube videos on Bersih 2.0, the organizers were being very rhetorical about the rally, and why Malaysians should attend the rally. Because Bersih 2.0 has now “transformed” from the original 8 demands into the subject of “Cops are bad, look at this country”, most Malaysians are now fuelled with anger. Nonchalantly, the 8 demands has now been quietly swept aside without any discussion or debate or clear explanation from the present Government.

That is why I would like to return to the original point of Bersih 2.0: the 8-point demands for electoral reform from Bersih 2.0. Let us, Malaysians, return back to the subject. The 8-point demand.

I hope my independent assessment on the 8 demands by BERSIH v2.0 will inject some rational thinking and perspective so that all Malaysians can appreciate the context and content rather than marching on the streets aimlessly without any clear objective or reason.

Lets now look at the 8 demands raised by Bersih and subject them to scrutiny:

1. Clean the electoral roll

The electoral roll is marred with irregularities such as deceased persons and multiple persons registered under a single address or non-existent addresses. The electoral roll must be revised and updated to wipe out these ‘phantom voters’. The rakyat have a right to an electoral roll that is an accurate reflection of the voting population.

In the longer term, BERSIH 2.0 also calls for the EC to implement an automated voter registration system upon eligibility to reduce irregularities.

RESPONSE:

Based on the CIA World Fact book, death in Malaysia is 4.93 per 1,000 population (based on July 2011). Through extrapolation, for 28 million population, the estimated number of deaths in a year is 138,040 persons. Assuming the information is not updated in JPN over a period of 5 years, on a worst case scenario, the total “un-updated record of deceased persons” is 690,020 people.

According to the EC, we have 11.4 million registered voters. Assuming EC did not update their database due deceased people, this represent 6% inaccuracy of the true / actual registered voters.

Malaysians should ask: can a 6% “inaccuracy / irregularity” (on a worst case scenario) be a strong point to bash the EC or the Government for being unfair? I think this is absurd and politically motivated.

The fact that the opposition won more states in the next GE showed that fair election / democracy is in place.

Therefore, my question for those who are politically inclined: does the 6% translate into a sure win for the the political parties (including opposition) in the next GE?

For automatic voter registration as proposed by Bersih v2.0, many people have expressed disagreement on this subject.

There is a writer who posted something in Malaysian Insider that I would like to share…

“Not that I have anything against people registering to vote.

I am a registered voter myself. However, to force something on someone — be it religion, racism and even voter registration — is something I just can’t agree with.

It’s against a person’s free will. I see it as similar to parents determining their kids’ religions at birth; performing circumcision on a kid who doesn’t know any better; or even how parents of a male child with no penis would show off their kid in a photo opportunity for the Malaysian media, as we saw in 2009.

There are many fears in having an automatic-registration system, primarily on the basis of privacy.”

As for voters registered with a non-existent addresses, everyone knows that we move from one place to another as we grow. Let’s assume that Ali was born in Kuala Lipis. He has an IC which has the address of his family in Kuala Lipis. 20 years later he migrated to Kuala Lumpur, then 5 years later he was posted to Terengganu for offshore assignment with Murphy Oil. 6 years later he was posted to lead a project in Sarawak. Does it mean he has to update his IC address and inform EC every time he moves to another address?

If let’s say 10 million of our population is affected by this, do you think it is practical to enforce it in reality my dear fellow Malaysians?

In short, Bersih’s demand of the automatic voters registration basically forces people to be registered. And that cannot be seen as democracy!

It definite contradicts Bersih’s principles of having a fair democracy.

2. Reform postal ballot

The current postal ballot system must be reformed to ensure that all citizens of Malaysia are able to exercise their right to vote. Postal ballot should not only be open for all Malaysian citizens living abroad, but also for those within the country who cannot be physically present in their voting constituency on polling day. Police, military and civil servants too must vote normally like other voters if not on duty on polling day.

The postal ballot system must be transparent. Party agents should be allowed to monitor the entire process of postal voting.

RESPONSE:

According to the Government website, Malaysia has approximately 1.2 million civil servants. The police & military are consistently on duty and geographically dispersed throughout the country. In fact, they are on duty too during elections, etc.

If the police, military are forced to vote normally, then they are forced to leave their duty in various locations. Imagine leaving the jungle, strategic border locations just to vote. I think this is not practical at all.

On this note, Bersih 2.0 also made a proposal to EC for party agents to monitor the entire process of postal voting. Well, this has not happened in any other countries. Please name me one country which allows parties on both divide to “intervene” in the EC processes or postal voting.

Also, postal voting happens not only for police and military personnel who are on duty, but also Malaysians who vote overseas. If Bersih 2.0 wants party agents to be allowed to monitor the entire process of postal voting, does that mean that party agents need to be posted whenever and wherever there are Malaysians voting overseas? (I’m sure some of them don’t mind having the excuse to have a nice holiday overseas, “in the name of democracy”!)

I think this proposal suggests deep paranoia and mistrust of key institutions in the country, including the Elections Commission (SPR), which I think is simply pathetic.

In conclusion, there has not been any real issues in terms of postal voting, whether in Malaysia or in other countries. After all, from a bigger picture perspective, the impact of postal votes is small compared to the actual votes in the various constituencies.

As a citizen who support fair elections in this country, I suggest that we should be focusing on the actual voting mechanism at the various constituencies rather than debating day and night on postal voting, which, in reality, produces a minimal impact to the election results.

For those who are politically inclined to dwell on the numbers and think that this is still not fair because the postal votes can ensure a better win, imagine this: Assuming 100% of the 1.2 million servants are forced to do postal voting, that represent 10% of the 11.4 million registered voters in this country. Assuming ceteris paribus, if you divide 11.4 million registered voters by 222 constituencies, that is 51,351 votes for each constituency. Therefore the postal votes (i.e 10% of 11.4m) constitute 5,400 votes vs. 51,351 votes.

With all the anger and insult which I hear from the political leaders and Bersih organizers, my conclusion is simple. The impact of postal voting to the overall result is minimal.

The majority swing or “success” for each political party is based on the actual voters who attend, register and vote on the actual election day. Surely as Malaysians, we shouldn’t be so easily fuelled and vortexed into something so small until we lose our logical reasoning.

I ask again the question to my dear fellow Malaysians. Looking at the maths, is this something worth fighting for? Is this what we call unfair election or democracy by the opposition?

3. Use of indelible ink

Indelible ink must be used in all elections. It is a simple, affordable and effective solution in preventing voter fraud. In 2007, the EC decided to implement the use of indelible ink. However, in the final days leading up to the 12th General Elections, the EC decided to withdraw the use of indelible ink citing legal reasons and rumours of sabotage.

Bersih 2.0 demands for indelible ink to be used for all the upcoming elections. Failure to do so will lead to the inevitable conclusion that there is an intention to allow voter fraud.

RESPONSE:

Less than 20 countries out of 194 countries use inedible ink in their elections. Indelible ink is NOT used by developed countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Japan and many others. It is used mainly in less developed countries with large populations.

Some of the countries include Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mauritania, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tchad, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

It is also worth to note that indelible ink is not a fool-proof method and has its disadvantages such as:

· Indelible ink itself can be used to commit electoral fraud by marking opponent party members before they have the chance to cast their votes; and

· There have been cases in Afghanistan where “indelible” ink have washed off voters’ fingers using bleach; such ink was blamed for contributing to fraud in the first Afghan presidential election in 2005.

In short, if Malaysia decides to use indelible ink, for a country that has a comprehensive database and biometric identification of its citizens, it can be viewed as step backwards for the nation and not a step forward. Remember, less than 20 countries out of 194 countries uses indelible ink in their general elections.

For those countries who don’t use inedible ink, do you regard them as corrupt?

Bersih organizers have really managed to divert the attention of the public on this. Pure deception

4. Minimum 21 days campaign period

The EC should stipulate a campaign period of not less than 21 days. A longer campaign period would allow voters more time to gather information and deliberate on their choices. It will also allow candidates more time to disseminate information to rural areas. The first national elections in 1955 under the British Colonial Government had a campaign period of 42 days but the campaign period for 12th GE in 2008 was a mere 8 days.

RESPONSE:

There is no standard or best practice in any countries to determine the optimum campaign period. For example, Singapore has a 9-day campaign period, the United Kingdom has 17 days and Philippines has a 90-day campaign period. The misconception by the public at large is that the campaign period (whether it is 5 days, 21 days, 40 days, 60 days or even 100 days) guarantees a fair election.

Campaign activities must be viewed as an on-going activity by the ruling and opposition parties and not a one-off activity due to General Election. Both parties must work hard daily or throughout the year to ensure support from grass roots and voters at their respective constituencies. The all year round consistent campaigning throughout each constituency guarantees better results than a one-off GE campaign approach. This is particularly true in the modern world’s 24-hour news cycle, where politicians constantly jostle for media and public attention.

I feel that regardless the campaign period, both parties are not privy to the actual General Election dates (while it is true that in Malaysia, the incumbent Prime Minister has the upper hand due to his constitutional role in advising the Agong regarding the dissolution of Parliament, we know that even ruling party politicians play constant guessing games regarding the exact timing of polls). Hence, it is in the interest of both parties (ruling and opposition) to identify winnable candidates and strengthening their grassroots support through regular campaigning. I believe both sides are working equally hard at the grass root level to gain support.

In short, Bersih organizers and supporters should not view the campaign period as a key determining factor to ensure fair elections. Again, they have deceived the public and caused unnecessary anger.

5. Free and fair access to media

It is no secret that the Malaysian mainstream media fails to practice proportionate, fair and objective reporting for political parties of all divide. Bersih 2.0 calls on the EC to press for all media agencies, especially state-funded media agencies such as Radio and Television Malaysia (RTM) and Bernama to allocate proportionate and objective coverage for all political parties.

RESPONSE:

I feel this is a lob-sided request by Bersih 2.0. Free and fair access to media has been a hot topic of debate since Tun Mahathir’s time. At the same time, we are aware of the existence of alternative media which provide differing views which are sometimes being perceived as unfairly critical of one side or the other.

Lets look at some facts.

According to ITU (United Nation specialized agency for ICT), Malaysia has 17 million internet users in 2010. According to Nielsen research in 2010, newspaper in Malaysia has approximately 15 million readership (54% of population).

Malaysiakini recorded 1 million visitor in January 2011. For one year, it is estimated the total visitor is around 12 million people. And remember, we have other online news portal such as Malaysia Insider, Malaysia Reserve, etc.

On another data by Malaysian Digital Association (MDA) in April 2011, Malaysiakini recorded higher number of unique visitors at 2.7 million compared to the Star online at 2.4 million.

Therefore, if you compare the mainstream news vis-à-vis the alternative / online media, the equal number of visitors/ readers for both shows equal playing field if you want to view it politically. Why Bersih is making a big fuss out of this ?

Another strong point to note is that the Government does not ban or censor Malaysiakini, Malaysian Insider or any other internet portals must be viewed as a significant step compared to other countries. Despite much provocation from opposition-leaning portals, the Malaysian government has kept to its commitment of free and open Internet since the launching of the Multimedia Super Corridor, and I think the Government deserves a bit more credit for not emulating China in this regard.

In recent times, we have seen the birth of “invisible & anonymous online cybertroopers” whose job is to consistently post negative comments on any article that appear in various Internet portals.

Whilst we all know that these are either planned or posted by a small handful of individuals, we have not witnessed any censorship from the Government on the strings of unintelligent and provocative postings, including comments relating and blaming everything on the present Government.

The silent majority knows that most of the comments posted online at Malaysia Kini and Malaysia Insider are fabricated / scripted by certain quarters. Postings / ramblings such as “Hidup Pakatan”, “Wait for the next GE”, “Lets vote PR”, “Government bodoh”, etc are “recycled” and appeared in different articles.

If we want to scrutinize further, Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider journalists have the tendency to post a negative title to capture the attention of the readers/ visitors. This makes certain quarters feel that the online-media are pro opposition.

So to sum it all, both political parties have equal playing field judging from the number of readers/visitors for both mainstream and alternative media. To allow fair reporting for all political parties, my view is that Bersih 2.0 must also call for the EC to ensure that online media such as Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider practice proportionate, fair and balanced reporting.

6. Strengthen public institutions

Public institutions must act independently and impartially in upholding the rule of law and democracy. Public institutions such as the Judiciary, Attorney-General, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC), Police and the EC must be reformed to act independently, uphold laws and protect human rights. In particular, the EC must perform its constitutional duty to act independently and impartially so as to enjoy public confidence. The EC cannot continue to claim that they have no power to act, as the law provides for sufficient powers to institute a credible electoral system.

RESPONSE:

I fail to comprehend how Bersih 2.0 can make this call for “reform” of the institutions mentioned, when the Government has been doing precisely this for several years now, beginning with the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police, the establishment of the Judicial Appointments Commission, as well as the establishment of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission.

In other words, the transformation of various national institutions is an ongoing process. And so, rather than continuing to lambast and ridicule vital institutions of the state such as the MACC and the police, I suggest that the Opposition and their friends in Bersih 2.0 should start being more productive and suggest concrete measures to transform our institutions for the better.

This is especially true for the Elections Commission. Other than continued calls from the Opposition for the EC to “report to Parliament” (what does that mean, anyway? Who is Parliament should they report to? How would reporting to a committee made up of squabbling politicians be any improvement from the current way that the EC is established?), we have not heard any specific and concrete measures to improve the EC.

Stop hiding behind vague rhetorical statements, and try to be more specific and concrete about what changes you propose to make.

7. Stop corruption

Corruption is a disease that has infected every aspect of Malaysian life. BERSIH 2.0 and the rakyat demand for an end to all forms of corruption. Current efforts to eradicate corruption are mere tokens to appease public grouses. We demand that serious action is taken against ALL allegations of corruption, including vote buying.

RESPONSE:

I agree and support Bersih 2.0’s call for war on Corruption. I am totally behind this as no one likes or condones corrupt practices in this country.

It took me several days to study this in greater depth and looking at what the present Government is doing vis-à-vis other countries. I am very passionate to share my findings with my fellow Malaysians who are there in KL raving about corruption.

My view can be simplified as follow.

Fighting corruption is an on-going battle, and I believe each country have to come up with preventive measures to curb corruption. When I looked at developed countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States, it took them more than 10 years to fight corruption to a level where it is acceptable by global standards.

One of my ex-colleague is in a top 3 global investment bank and she had the opportunity to sit in to listen to the Government Transformation Programme (GTP as popularly known in Malaysia) update during an analyst roadshow in Singapore and Hong Kong. From her discussion with many other analyst, Malaysia has placed a number of significant game changer initiatives to prevent corruption and this is clearly reflect in the GTP annual report (which I’m told can be downloaded for free).

As this most hotly debated topic in Malaysia, I did some research on the web to get a better understand on what she meant by “significant game changer initiatives”.

For the first time, a Whistle Blower Act has been gazetted and now every Malaysians can submit a case and his/her identity will be protected. This is something new for all of us in Malaysia.

Next was the announcement of 18 corruption courts expedite corruption cases so that swift action can be taken. I think this is a brilliant idea! Not many countries have this.

From the MACC website, I found out more than 800 people have been arrested for corruption in 2010 alone. And 200 + confirmed cases have been published on the MACC website with names, IC number and photographs. This is indeed a significant milestones for this country if you ask me. I think we are following closely the Hong Kong model. For the record, ICAC of Hong Kong do publish the statistics of the convicted cases on their website.

I also managed to check how transparent the Government is in publishing the government award contracts, I have found this website called MyProcurement. Quite rough but it fits the purpose of listing more than 3,000 government award contracts. Not bad if you think about it.

Overall, although more can be said about Malaysia’s effort in fighting corruption, I feel Malaysia in the recent time has made leaps and bounds to build preventive measures.

At the end of the day, the corruption case may not reduce to zero overnight, but as a Malaysian, we have to give some credit on MACC’s effort.

Coming back to Bersih 2.0. Yes, I do support this demand/request by them. In fact, Bersih should work with the Government to bring the corruption cases along with the evidence forward as they have 18 corruption courts to expedite the matter. Anyone can make vague and unsubstantiated claims about corruption. Why Bersih 2.0 did not bring forward actual corrupt cases and work with MACC or EC remains unclear.

So Bersih should stop riding on this demand knowing the fact that Malaysia is doing everything they possibly can to fight corruption. In fact, stop being rhetoric about such pronouncement of intent. Rather, please work with MACC and bring solid corruption cases ! The public at large are sick of talk and debating about rhetoric stuff and all we need is to bring more corruption cases forward!

8. Stop dirty politics

Malaysians are tired of dirty politics that has been the main feature of the Malaysian political arena. We demand for all political parties and politicians to put an end to gutter politics. As citizens and voters, we are not interested in gutter politics; we are interested in policies that affect the nation.

RESPONSE

If there is one demand from Bersih 2.0 that I like, then this will be it. We must stop dirty politics on both sides.

Politics in Malaysia is still at infancy stage. Fact based argument is often twisted to inject doubt in the society. Racial sentiments are always played to spark racial divide. Personal allegation and remarks between political leaders are often chosen as the best method as opposed to fact based arguments or healthy intellectual debate.

If you look in the last 10 years, the existence of a digital community has changed the landscape on how we think and altered our perception on they how we view a particular subject. More predominantly when everyone can express themselves through a combination of facts, fiction, lies and emotions on the web (i.e blogs, online media), then things start to change. This is coupled with the existence of “invisible cyber troopers” (from both sides) starting to post comments on negative things about this country.

Slowly but surely most of us in Malaysia are now blaming the Government’s education system for our kids’ lack of achievement despite given scholarship, good residential schools, etc. We blame the Government for the high cost of living despite having the lowest interest rate for car loans, property loans, etc. We blame the Government for not giving the rakyat enough subsidy despite being one of the most highly subsidized countries in the world. We blame the Government for not having sufficient investors into the country despite our Bursa Malaysia reaching 6 times record high in 2011 alone, etc.

I hope we do not come to a stage where we blame the Government for climate change too.

On the statement by Bersih 2.0 on “ we are interested in policies that affect the nation”, I managed to do a quick research about the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that the Najib administration talked about. After hours of research and reading, I almost fainted to count the number of articles and report from financial analyst/economists around the world on the national transformation agenda. Whether it has impact or not, one thing for sure the stock market in Malaysia has record high at 1580 points in 2011. That excludes that the fact the our stock Market has reach at least 5 times record high in 6 months of 2011 !

I mean, on one hand we demand “policies that affect the nation”, one one hand we forgot about the very achievements which are taking place infront of our eyes.

Dear fellow Malaysians, reading and observing how we act as a country, for a homogenous society, we need to embrace and forgive our differences.

We should be grateful. Malaysia is blessed with so many positive things surrounding us vis-à-vis our neighbouring country.

Each of us have a role to play.

Rallying and street demonstration doesn’t guarantee a better future.

Let’s stop the bickering and dirty politics.

Let’s focus on building this country together.

43 thoughts on “Bersih 2.0 Exposed – Bersih Is Politics

  1. Pakatan Rakyat’s desperate dream of formenting an Arab Spring here through their proxies in Bersih: time to wake up and face the reality.

    It would have been an adrenalin-filled day for the participants. But they woke up to a head-splitting hangover: July 10 was a different day and the hoped-for momentum against the government wasn’t there. Try as they did through online sites like Malaysiakini, Free Malaysia Today, Malaysian Insider, Malaysia Today etc to boost their spirit and create anger against the authorities, the energy dissipated.

    Looks like Pakatan Rakyat will have to create something else if they are to retain those seats and states in the next GE. Face it: the majority are fed up with these selfish politicans who are out only for their own benefits.

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        • I could … in some ways help you with the puzzle … few months before the power transition from Pak Lah to Najib … there has been talk among UMNO power brokers that Dollah/Khairy regime would utilize whatever means possible to stop Najib getting the throne.

          Now … should there be so called any concealed “evidence” involving Najib … Dollah/Khairy regime would have disclosed all to ensure that FIL would stay in power … and KJ could keep on sucking the Khazanah’s marrow … BUT … even until the very last day of Dollah’s fall … no substantial evidence was ever revealed … and eventually … Pak Lah became a history … HI HI HI

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    • The writer has good intentions and is commendable. But I agree with Mat Cendana about Pakatan Rakyat’s hands in Bersih. Here are my views:

      1. Only 4 of Bersih’s points could be raised with the Election Commission. The rest were political issues that have been the bread and butter of Opposition political parties. They have made Bersih appear as a political rally, not a civic affair.

      2. The rally was far from successful. The turn out was dismal, From 300,000 initially hoped for, mid-way reduced to 100,000, then 50,000 expected on eve of the rally, but not even 20,000 came as claimed by Bersih, only 6,000 said the Police. Therefore, I disagree strongly with the writer’s words “so much support to fight for one cause”.

      3. The link provided up there says 3,000 Policemen in plainclothes were mingling with the crowd. Plainclothes Policemen mixing with demonstrators occurs everywhere in the world. 3,000 is not a high figure as the Police were preparing for a worst case scenario of a big turn out.

      4. I agree with the writer that the rally became political in nature but if “the NGOs and the organizers have rallied support from the political leaders (mainly opposition)”, they should have admitted so and not hoodwinked the public into thinking that it was a demonstration of civic organisations.

      5. I like that part about many of the rally participants not understanding what they were on the streets for. The Minister of Information has announced that the Ministry is doing a survey to determine the motives of the attendees, some of whom told people they were there from outstation simply joining friends for a KL visit and were given some cash to do so. I’m awaiting the results to be announced.

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  2. The second group is what I consider to be the loud minority. These are folks who are perpetually unhappy over the way things are in our fair country. Maybe they don’t like certain policies which have been put in place (and which have likely contributed in some way or other to the current prosperity and success of our country!) In any case, these are the ones who usually speak (and sometimes scream) the loudest on blogs and Youtube, injecting truth and lies and using emotional or racial sentiments to make their point.

    Ouch. Name calling and unfair insinuation so early in a supposed independent look at Bersih.

    My my my…

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    • I do prefer ‘vocal minority’ as the right term to describe these people. As a younger generation I do have problem with these group of people especially in FB, when they just shouting and sharing any so called ‘truth’ to others when its downright deviating from facts. These are not shallow minded people, in fact they are university graduates. But most of them do not care enough to balance out the information and seek for more justifiable facts. Its the mind of a PR supporters I think. They do not understand the concept of healthy debate. I guess from their point of view, he who shouted the loudest shall win the war. Sometimes facts are important, but the way it was presented will differentiate it from merely ideas to truth.

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      • Perhaps the problem is in the excessive use of Face book and blogs as their source of info. Maybe the only source of info for some of them.

        This is where the suggestion that the Ministry of Information conducts activities that can specifically counter the adverse Facebook and blog comments holds water. Bernama certainly has a major responsibility because it is the national news agency. But their reports come out much later than others in many instances – in the Google Malaysia news summary page, at least.

        And Bernama should not make people pay for their news or ask people to log in and the like, making it cumbersome for people to read or copy them. For goodness sake, aren’t they given Government grants to operate?

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        • Hye Mr Isa, I’m one of Bernama’s staff. Thank you for your concern, we’re trying to produce news faster.
          However, seems like Bernama is not very much well-known in this country.
          Someone even asked me, Bernama is Berita Harian right?
          My ass lah….

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          • Boy, am I glad that some one from Bernama read and replied the criticisms against them (hopefully he read the earlier ones, too). And answered in a gentlemanly fashion as well. Well done and thank you, Firdaus.

            This blog has a wide readership and, by and large, a quality readership, and your responses here would help a lot in promoting Bernama’s image among readers who, I believe, matter one way or another. May I respectfully suggest/ request your/ Bernama’s responses on the following:

            1. Assuming that Bernama gets an annual Government financial grant as the national news agency (I hope I’m right in thinking Bernama is that), Bernama should not have the profit motive. Therefore, Bernama should not make it cumbersome by making readers log in, register or pay any fee for reading Bernama detailed news at any time whatsoever. More importantly, allow readers to copy and paste whatever Bernama writes.

            2. You see, readers and commenters (I know there is no such word as the spelling prompter keeps coming out every time I use the word for brevity) can help promote the image of the Government, and Bernama is expected to promote whatever Government is in power, no matter the political inclinations or leanings of Bernama staff who, ideally, should not be taking sides on the political divide.

            3. Bernama should be producing quality news reports, right from command of the English language to accuracy of information, quality of content, perception and knowledge on the subjects being reported or interviewed on. There should not be “hanging news” where there’s no proper introduction of the subject matter or a clarification or association with past news related directly related to the subject.

            4. Quality news reports would enable Bernama to be in the same league as Reuters, AFP etc and there’ll be no problem of overseas news agencies, governmental and business organizations subscribing to Bernama on a regular, long-term basis, sources of revenue that’ll certainly negate the need to depend on the poor readers in Malaysia for additional income.

            5. After all, Bernama has the strong edge over news concerning and emanating from the Government of Malaysia. Being the national news agency, the Government is obliged to inform, in advance, the public events that Government leaders would officiate or attend, giving speeches or merely lending their presence. The departments concerned usually inform the Information Depatrment of the State concerned, which then merely relays whatever is communicated to them by those departments to Bernama. Given in advance, Bernama editor(s) can plan well ahead of others the kind of quality news and reporting that would impress readers.

            6. Where there are no speeches, news can be created by interviewing the leaders concerned or questions simply thrown at them on such current and publicly-poorly-informed events as the Bersih rally – no need, for example, to wait for TS Muhyiddin to come out on his own the suggestion or instruction that the Police air out the Police film footage on the illegal rally.

            7. As the national news agency, Bernama should also contribute towards the instilling of loyalty and patriotism among the rakyat, by way of periodically asking or interviewing Government and responsible civic leaders about respect and adherence to the Constitution of the country. This has been sorely lacking in the country for some time.

            8. Getting Google Malaysia news headlines page display Bernama news headlines more prominently and frequently, above Malaysiakini, Free Malaysia Today etc. Reading that page often gives one the impression that Google Malaysia is run by the Opposition. The Government may not be expected to “fraternize” with such Opposition-minded people but Bernama, with its private sector disposition, can. It is hoped that such fraternity, if carried out well by Bernama, can lead to some influencing such that Bernama news can be displayed more prominently in that Google news page than they have been in the past.

            Sorry JMD for the lengthy comment. I have no other intent than getting a better deal from Bernama with humble and sincere suggestions above. Publishing this comment early and giving good time before your next post would enable Firdaus and/ or other Bernama staff to read and respond satisfactorily and for that I’d thank you from the bottom of my heart.

            Like

          • PS:

            Firdaus,

            The last bit in your comment was not gentlemanly lah. But as to why Bernama is not even well known in this country, you should bring the matter up with your higher ups in Bernama. Whatever level you may be at, you can always bring it up with your immediate superior. If not officially during office hours, perhaps at coffee, lunch or tea time.

            Or even through your union, if there is one and if the union rules allow for asking the Management to do their utmost to make the agency you work for an organization to be proud of. Like in Japan, they are so proud of the companies they work for that they display the company badges on their coat lapels all the time.

            Often, big organizations have meetings to discuss one thing or another. You can try to raise the issues mentioned above at such meetings either directly by yourself or get your colleagues to do it. I think Bernama should be better known, not only locally but also abroad, like Reuters, AFP and the like.

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    • I like the latter part of your 1st para.

      The 2nd para – an independent look at Bersih cannot make criticisms? You are saying “unfair insinuation” without justifying it, even pointing out which ones?

      My my my …

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  3. A really well written article! credit to the Author, Azhari and JMD for posting this. That’s is why, I have always questioned the QUALITY of our opposition political wise and knowledge wise. If you read any pro-opposition blog and their portals you can see the quality of the knowledge, mindset, and most importantly their INTENTIONS.
    I once caught Malaysian Insider journalist citing hate sentiment in her article regarding POS Malaysia and Penang Port takeover by Tan Sri Syed Albukhari. The words are thinly veiled such as ‘buying up the whole country’, ‘Cabinet approval’ and his connection with politicians. Then, i read the Malay version, and surprisingly the writing are more on general perspective. Then i thought ‘Double standard eh?’ or do they think the Malays only read the Malay version? That is an insult!. Then, you can figure out how racist the comments below could be…
    I couldn’t care less if the portal writes bad thing about politicians and politics in general since that is their aims anyway. But, please do not incite hate sentiment about any civil servant, Malay corporate, and most importantly the country, and yeah at least 80% of the civil servants are BUMIPUTRAs.
    We tried to live in harmony for many years now, at least have sense to filter out your writings. How can ‘these’ people called UTUSAN as racist when they themselves can be deemed as racist?

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    • Short of telling them to get the hell out of this country – which they won’t because many of them can’t even afford the permanent stay requirements of such countries as Australia and Canada – we need to keep on hitting at them verbally here, there and everywhere.

      You see, these are generally the frustrated lot, unsuccessful in life and unable to get what they want. For what they want are really beyond their reach. How can it be within their reach when the sensitive Articles of the Constitution that they resent cannot be questioned, much less be amended, being protected under the Sedition Act. One such Article is regarding Bahasa Kebangsaan. Another is regarding the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak.

      Therefore, to vent their frustration, they hit out at anything Malay and Bumiputera. They raise such issues as corruption and cronyism when they are also corrupt, in fact, have the Lim dynasty, too.

      We need to keep telling them to respect the Constitution, follow the laws of this country and, if no permit is given for any street rally, jolly well then don’t do it. True. they and others will try again and again since the so-called Reformasi days to show open defiance and break the laws. But we have to keep urging the authorities to be firm and steadfast, and apply all the laws available in this country to rein them in every time.

      Like

  4. A good write up, should be published in the mainstream.

    I too believe that the rally goers are just a bunch of ‘party fanatics’ who just like to join in the crowd without the real cause in their head… and well, for the ‘likes’ in FB etc.. its as simple as a click…. by whoever and whenever “across the world”🙂

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  5. In a nutshell: Najib is doing a good job and someone’s not happy, so they ‘hasut’ and ‘fitnah’ to obstruct and halt the good work of the government.

    Like

  6. Finally, a post that is focused on just Bersih alone…. a brilliant piece i must say… Though, as u know, fanatics will be fanatics… U cant change their mindset and their views, even with this mind gem

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  7. ths article is too long to be read by ‘some’ fellow malaysians. they’re more interested in shouting things and not by understanding ’em.

    Like

  8. I think, Najib / BN should amplify their marketing rather than to attend on customer complaints only. The objective is to score more than the opponents, at all times.

    So this comes the hardwork and ideas from fellow BN high rank and supporters. Unfortunately, BN high rank is only interested in retaining their seats and BN ordinary supporters are not widely welcomed.

    My suggestion:
    1) BN to make more activities with BN friendly crowd. {BN at Bahagian should handle this?)
    2) More news about the Malaysian accomplishments.
    3) More open debates (We can have webinar type if security is the concerns – panelists in one building, their supporter can be miles aparts). While this need more work, we have the resources so we should be able to use it.

    In a nutshell, when people are shutting down from TV3, Utusan Malaysia and etc. It’s time to use different channel.

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  9. Your attempt in trying to bend the truth will not persuade me.
    For example, when you talked about free media, you only used the internet as a comparison tool. But what about the near 100% monopoly enjoyed by BN over other media like newspaper, TV, radio, etc. As we all know, a large percentage of voters do not have daily access to internet and depend large on conventional media.

    I’ve read many of your articles and you strike me as very biased and manipulative. You are a gifted writer but your manipulations made your website severely lacking in credibility.

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    • You don’t sound like anyone that can be “persuaded”, talking the way you do.

      Would you like to elaborate on the “near 100% monopoly enjoyed by BN over other media like newspaper, TV, radio, etc”?

      And justify your statements of “many of your articles .. strike me as very biased and manipulative.” I’ve been a long-time follower of JMD but have not found them so and have not found his website “severely lacking in credibility”.

      Criticize by all means because I notice JMD has published even worse criticisms against him. But do justify your criticisms to make them credible.

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      • not just vocal, but vacant too evidently.

        he didn’t even get the simple fact that the entry is not written by the blog owner, JMD. that alone negates whatever else he wrote in his comment.

        the old saw abt empty vessels being rattlers still holds true!

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    • We have Harakah and Keadilan newspaper, why their paper don’t sell like The Star or Utusan is a business issue, who want to buy newspaper that only have political hate news as their only content anyway. You maybe; but I bet even you don’t buy their Harakah/Keadilan/DAP newspaper too, you should at least help them by buying their newspaper lah, and stop begging for UMNO newspaper to give a space for your party news, get rid of that subsidy mentality will ya.

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  10. This article is retarded at so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll just raise up one point:

    #1 Cleaning up the electoral roll

    You said that automatic voter registration is against a person’s rights. Bullshit. You’re automatically registered but you still have the right to vote or not vote at all. How is this even an issue? Automation is everywhere, and never had once had I seen anybody from democratic countries to resent automatic registration when they still retain their full rights to refuse to take action.

    In a nutshell, just because you’re registered doesn’t mean you have to vote. Doesn’t mean you’ll be penalized if you don’t.

    Seriously… this is one of the more retarded blogs out there.

    Like

    • Yes it is against the Constitution for you to automatically be a registered voter. They gave you freedom to register or not. As simple as that. How us this even an issue? You must create a fuss because of this? Negotiate further with SPR. But Ambiga did not.

      Like

    • Now whose retard?JMD or Retard Tan?

      http://www.rendervault.com/

      “Ruben Tan has severe brain damage after constantly hitting himself whenever he faces problems in his programming projects, and thus have a weird outlook on life which prevents him from being trapped in the surface of lies.”

      Self said brain damage weird outlook Retard Tan. Kah Kah Kah

      JMD, usually I’m just a silent reader but nowadays I enjoy responding to this kind of person in the way they are. Sorry for leaving such a rubbish comment. Love your blog. TQ.

      Like

    • Did one you fools read the big highlighted paragraph? Its not JDM’s writing. From only that we can conclude how narrow minded and LAZY some people are. I took it, you did not read the whole article isnt it? You just took a part which you could use againts JDM, but it seems you have failed. So please try again, and this time read the whole article.

      Like

    • My man, how you jumped to your conclusion.This blog has been visited by millions. If there is any retards, it will be you. So arrogant and yet so misimformed.

      Like

  11. For those who support Bersih, they have this righteous attitude that their involvement is for the betterment of our children. As for I who don’t, it is for the love of my country. I believe my country election is fair, there maybe weaknesses but the people have the right to voice their opinion and choose the party of their choice. Judging from the opposition inclined websites and facebook supports, our press freedom is vibrant and alive.

    I really don’t see the points of Bersih and opposition to shame the country in foreign media. China has Tian An Men but if you talk to mainland chinese, they will not talk bad about their government in front of others. They are proud of their country and will not let incidents like this to mar the image of their nation. Opposition and Bersih are the opposite, they take pride and try to project Malaysia to be like Egypt or Liberia. For the silent majority like me, I can only see them as Malaysians who don’t appreciate what we have achieved and is more interested in washing our dirty laundry in front of international media.

    As of foreign media opinion, I don’t give a damn on how the west see us. I always remember International Monetary Fund IMF wanted us to raise the interest rate in financial crisis and Anwar was gung ho about it. History shows that it is our so called “recalcitrant” Tun Dr Mahathir that saved us from the stupidity. As such, I don’t bloody care what Economist think of us, after all, if their opinions are so brilliant and bright, British Foreign Debt will not be USD 8,981 Billion. Every living Briton from baby to 90 years owe foreign debt of USD144,338 each and their debt is 400% of their GDP.

    Like

    • Bravo, my friend. How I wish there are more Malaysians like you. Damn proud of our country and always out to defend it against the wayward fellows at the same time acknowledging that we are not perfect. Even the US had a hoola baloo over election procedures as recent as the George W Bush and Al Gore Presidential contest.

      Like

  12. you are a right wing UMNO supporter whom lost touch with the changing. your article shows a lack of empathy with people of the ground> if you bother to speak with friends whom were there you would surely find out they are not on a sunday excursion.

    pompous pontificater and i will be surprised if you print you, Just see how many thumbs up your ass.

    Like

    • Idiotic fool,

      I’m the first to give you a thumb down, you SOG. You have chosen an apt name for yourself and you certainly lived up to your name by that comment.

      You didn’t read Rais Yatim’s announcement on a survey they are carrying out to determine the motives of those fellows out on the streets on 9 July. And you didn’t read what others have written about it in here.

      Instead you come barging in here making accusations using rude words. You ought to be shot.

      Like

  13. A great article! This should be published in the newspaper. I didnt even know about our government GTP and such. No wonder I see Malaysian nowdays are so wealthy. I am not kidding. Look around! Property price goes way up! A simple condos can reach millions (and I’m an architect by the way) and people never stop buying! And look at the numbers of BMW on the road nowdays. I went to Melbourne for 2 years from 2008 and came back here in 2010. The first thing I notice on the highway from KLIA to home is that, there are so many BMWs and Mercs, (even Ferrari and Lambos are a usual sight in KL now) on the roads. Imagine all this difference just within 2 years. WELL DONE TO THE AUTHOR.

    Like

  14. Its been several days since Bersih.
    Has there been any positive impact to Malaysia?
    Did Bersih made Malaysia better?
    It seems to me that Bersih was just a political distraction with no value to the Rakyat.
    I believe if you really want political reforms, we Malaysians should start with campaigning for better quality opposition.
    The current crop is filled with dinosaurs, dynasties and drama queens.
    They do not pose a viable alternative.
    Forget curtailing BN excesses or having stronger check and balance;
    We should start by revamping the opposition.
    It require a few good man from DAP, PKR and PAS to buck the current trend.
    For the sake of Malaysia, it should start now.

    Like

  15. The Police have readied the video footage for public screening that DPM TS Muhyiddin asked be done. Yesterday I read the Deputy IGP saying so far only RTM has taken and screened it. Here again I don’t understand the mentality of those in the media and people in authority.

    The footage itself should be news and the TV channels should be clamouring to get them and to screen them. What has made them so dumb as not to do so? Is it out of sympathy for the illegal rally? Is it due to their concern for advertising revenue, not being bothered about the need for putting out the right information and correct the wrong impression the rakyat may have of the rally? Are licenses for TV channels also not for relaying information and not just for entertainment?

    Those channels not airing them must be watched and the renewal of their license be delayed when the time comes. If not, what the hell is the annually renewable licensing for? Where is DS Rais Yatim and his Ministry of Information in all these? Why was he quiet and it took TS Muhyiddin to make the suggestion on airing the Police video footage. Where is DS Hishamuddin and his Ministry of Home Affairs? Aren’t they the ones holding the leverage as far as the annually renewable licensing is concerned?

    Those in authority should “persuade” the TV channels to screen them. The Police can just have them delivered to all the TV stations without waiting for them to come and collect. Be proactive, especially after the Deputy PM has asked the footage be aired. Send the footage out irrespective of whether it will be screened by the TV channels or not. Then we’ll know which channels are recalcitrant or leaning towards the Bersih people, never mind their advertising business considerations, if any.

    This may be the problem of half measures that were prevalent during Tun Dol’s time. Wanting to appear liberal and allowing people to say and do anything they like, even going against the Sedition Act, the Police Act, etc. On July 9 they went against the law on illegal assembly and the law on association being not bothered to register the organization that wanted to hold a rally and to apply for a permit even when told to do so after the visit to the YDP Agong. The Government must really be firm and steadfast. Come down hard on those intent to break the law, trying to get political mileage out of civic issues that they deliberately turned them political right from the start.

    Like

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