Home / Culture and Society / Reflections on Malaysia’s Bersih 2.0 Electoral Reforms Rally

Reflections on Malaysia’s Bersih 2.0 Electoral Reforms Rally

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It is now relatively calm after yesterday’s Bersih 2.0 rally. As I read news about the rally, I can’t help but reflect upon it.

One man died in the rally. He fell while running from tear gas fired by the police. This means that the police are responsible for his death. The police confirmed that a total of 1,667 people were arrested. Among the arrested were 16 children. Why did the police arrest children? Is it to put fear into them? The police tell us that 5,000 people marched in the rally. Pictures of the rally show us otherwise. If 5,000 people had marched in the rally and the police had managed to arrest one-fifth of them, it is no wonder the police received praise for being efficient and doing their job well! Only the naïve and ignorant will believe that 5,000 people marched in the rally.

In a bid to boost their public image, the police posted pictures in Facebook of detainees enjoying buffet meals. They are obviously trying to counter allegations against them about brutality. When I read the news from the mainstream media and watch videos of the rally in the mainstream TV channels, there is not a single picture of police kicking and beating protestors. I can only find these pictures on websites of the alternative media and foreign news sites. It seems that the government and police are trying to hide from us what the whole world sees.

The newspapers are filled with negative reports against Bersih. The politicians and police tell us that Bersih 2.0 was an opposition agenda. They tell the people that Bersih 2.0 is stirring racism sentiments. Judging by the handful of comments made in Twitter against Bersih 2.0, some people do believe them.

Screenshot of Bersih stories in TwitterWe are being told that the marchers provoked the police. Pictures and stories that are being told by those who marched tell us otherwise. Apparently, the police were the ones in riot. They charged and fired against a group of people marching peacefully. They chased, clubbed with batons, kicked and arrested peaceful protestors.

Bersih 2.0 is not about any opposition party. It is about electoral reforms. Unlike in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other Arab countries, the people of Malaysia are not demanding that the government step down. All we are asking is that the government give us clean, free and fair elections. Why is that wrong?

I wonder why Bersih did not become a trending topic in Twitter. Twitter was a widely used method of communication during the rally. There are thousands of tweets with the Bersih tags. A few tweeters speculated that it might be because Twitter had censored Bersih from becoming a trending topic. I hope it isn’t true. If it is true, Twitter is suppressing freedom of speech.

The behavior of the government and police of Malaysia have left many Malaysians upset. We were peaceful and yet you, the very ones who are supposed to protect us citizens, bore down on us violently. You will receive payback time in the next elections.

Image description: Screenshot of #bersihstories in Twitter.

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About Evangeline Han

  • John Lake

    I suspect that China will become involved in Malaysia, and it will be of paramount importance to have a government prepared to deal with that nation. This is no time for “splinter groups.”

  • A Malaysian

    Let me asked you a question, what kind of parents bring along children, a couple of orphans included to a rally? Another one if you are told not to gather, which is deemed illegal under the current law, which you ignored and you suffer a heart attacked and died is it the policce’s fault? Its so easy to sit jugmenet and romantize rebellious act, and critiseze the government, let me asked you again. If a state government ban a newspaper is it a supression of freedom of speach? The Penang state govement did it and yet not hue and cry from Bersih and its ilks. Anwar was identified independently by a couple of American experts as the man in the sex video, did Malaysia Kini or any of you bloggers bother to comment rationaly? No. To me yellow is an appropriate color for Bersih, Bersih should be white but in this case Yellow, a dirtied white is more than appropriate.

  • It is the right of parents to choose whether they wish to bring their children to rallies or not. Of course, it is not advisable for children to be brought to rallies. There were 50,000 adults. Why pick on the handful of children?
    Suffered a heart attack? Come on, the postmortem results states otherwise. I’ve watched the video that shows the dying moments of this man. He was in handcuffs and lying on the ground in agony. The police had handcuffed him but not one policeman could produce the key to unlock his handcuffs. The police has lied about the number of people who attended the rally (5,000 people! I had to laugh.) and the fact that they teargassed a hospital compound (there are plenty of videos and pictures to prove that the hospital was tear gassed), it is no surprise that they can lie about his death as well.
    Everyone has the right to criticize the government. Perhaps, you might think that Malaysia is Cuba or some other Communist country. But the fact is, Malaysia is supposed to be a democratic nation and in a democratic nation, citizens can speak out about issues they feel isn’t right.
    The ban on Utusan Malaysia? Well, that newspaper should be banned in all Malaysia. It’s main aim is to create discord as shown by its articles spreading lies about the Christians and other races.
    The American experts identified him based on the video and a photo of Anwar. Let me ask you, who provided the photo of Anwar? The government or Anwar himself? Who are these so-called American experts? Why didn’t the government name them?

  • A Malaysian, the government have been giving skewed information to the public, and it’s only because the Rakyat are determined to take the truth into their own hands and share with the public that the truth will not be suppressed anymore. However you want to judge what has been happening, it’s a fact, and not even something that the government hide, that they do promote racism. That’s a direct contradiction with their 1Malaysia slogan. The government has been full of contradictions, in case you haven’t been paying attention. Even on an international news broadcast, a government official first says that they allowed the rally, and then he says the rally is illegal. So which is it?