Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Sun Daily: Let's say no more on the subject (Bersih issue)


Let’s say no more on the subject

THE KING has spoken. He said it, that “street demonstrations bring more bad than good although the original intention is good”. By any consideration it was a neutral statement that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin issued on Monday.
Whichever way it is read hardly anyone would disagree that it is an advice to the organisers of the demonstrations to avoid street protests and rallies as the collateral damage caused by them would be too costly, and could undermine and destroy much that the country has built all these years.
In a plural society such as ours it would cause tension between the races and worse it may cause animosity between them and also cause “a section of the people to be enemies with the government”. Because of this, peace, law and order would suffer.
While the “original intention is good” it could be exploited by those with all kinds of agenda and despite the best efforts of the organizers to keep their people in check things could still run out of control.
Indeed, the “original intention” about reforming the electoral system is good and it has been voiced by many people and organisations long before Bersih (the Coalition for Free & Fair Elections) made up of NGOs and political parties came on the scene.
The Election Commission had certainly not been deaf to the demands and had instituted several changes over the years, maybe not at the speed that some people wanted but it made those changes.
The demand for more reforms came to a head following Bersih’s formation and its first demonstration in 2007 where tens of thousands of people were involved.
In that demonstration, where a list of demand for changes to the electoral system was handed to the Istana Negara, several people were injured and the peace and order of the city were disrupted.
Since then more changes, not necessarily as a result of demands by Bersih, were made by the Election Commission including its readiness to implement a biometric system in the next general election to dispel the perception that there are phantom voters.
It is possible that Bersih thinks that the changes to the electoral system made by the commission were not wholesale enough or too slow and too few and for that reason that it planned another demonstration to take place on Saturday.
The fear and concern of many people is that the police, whose capability was severely stretched when handling the first demonstration in 2007, may be hard put to handle the situation effectively should Bersih and its coalition partners make good their boast of mobilising 300,000 demonstrators on Saturday.
Therefore, as the King warned it is in the interest of everyone to ensure that “this demand on democracy does not bring destruction on the country”.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong also said that “when we any problem arises, we as a civilised society must resolve it through consultation and not follow our emotions”.
His should be the last word on the subject and considering that his statement has helped to calm the situation (the latest development is that Bersih has agreed to hold the gathering in a stadium) everyone else should cease saying anything more on the subject.

ANasTasya's Post: This means a lot to anyone who try to against the law.

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