Monday, April 30, 2012


Lydiawati Osman

For once, I have to disagree with my mentor, Datuk S. Ambiga. She says Bersih 3.0 was a success because many people attended. The Malaysian Insider puts the crowd at 30,000 while Malaysiakini puts it at 100,000. For me, for my friends who were marching, there is one reason and one reason only to proclaim Bersih 3.0 a ‘success’ and that is because a handful of protestors led by rowdy members of the opposition managed to provoke the police to react. The image above clearly shows the red-shirted Unit Amal of PAS charging and daring the Police to stop them. Because the police reacted with water and gas, the quantum of news minutes that Bersih 3.0 will get online and around the world will multiply by more than ten times.

To be fair to Datuk S. Ambiga, she did clearly urge the crowd to disperse before the water gas and water cannons were fired because she felt that objectives of the rally were achieved. But one group who were there for other reasons clearly did not listen. The troublemaker segment of the crowd instead listened to Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali who pushed them hard to break down the barriers the police had constructed. For the police, despite not having roadblocks into KL the night before like they did during Bersih 2.0, despite allowing us to walk through KL in the right spirit which was almost carnival like, Azmin breaking down barriers that a Court Judge had effectively ordered the police to erect were just too much for them to let go. Anwar knew this, which is why he ordered Azmin to ensure that adequate provocation was carried out.
If there was any further proof that any rational Malaysian needed to know that the Opposition had unfairly hijacked Bersih 3.0, this provocative action was it. It was in effect the final nail in the coffin for the independence and civil-society orientation of Bersih 3.0. I feel cheated to have marched for Bersih and for Ambiga. Instead, my small part that I wanted to play for my country’s future, my sacrifice to face any bodily harm was instead cheaply purchased for the propagation of the Opposition.

I will never march again if Anwar and his troublemakers are allowed to take over what belonged to civil society. We created the awareness of this, we sweated and struggled for this, we were arrested and inconvenienced for this yet it is Anwar and his henchmen who will gain the most from Bersih 3.0. It is Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat not democracy that gains from this. The irony is that all that Bersih and Datuk Ambiga were fighting for are the same practices that Anwar openly practiced as UMNO leader, Barisan MP and most recently as Keadilan Supremo when he rigged the entire Parti Keadilan Rakyat elections and good leaders like Zaid Ibrahim were forced to exit the party.

Without Anwar and Opposition politicians, the situation was much better, especially in the morning. The image below of my friend engaging the police is proof of this. When actual independent supporters of Bersih were the ones marching, we approached the police in peace, we did not desire a confrontation with the police but just wanted the make our point heard loud and clear. If the rally had continued in this spirit, Bersih 3.0 would have a been a real and true success for the people and Government of Malaysia. Instead it is real ‘success’ for Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat as BN will be skewered and vilified by the global media, with CNN etc. smiling with glee at the amount of entertaining footage that Azmin Ali and his band of hoodies has freely provide