Current Affairs

BERSIH 3.0: Police violence and brutality against the people

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bersih 3.0 “sit-in” on April 28 was a greater public relations disaster for Datuk Seri Najib Razak than Bersih 2.0 – with the damage growing in magnitude and impact when all the horror stories of police’s rampaging violence and brutality were told.

DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang said the police’s rampage of violence and brutality on that day were told where hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who came to Kuala Lumpur in peace were not allowed to disperse in peace.

He said the excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of police force, whether firing of tear gas and chemically-laced water cannon or downright police violence and brutality, could not justify any breach of the Dataran Merdeka barricades on April 28.

“No reasonable and thinking Malaysian would buy Najib’s blame yesterday alleging that Bersih 3.0 organisers were responsible for last Saturday’s violence,  in particular the police rampage of violence and brutality against peaceful protestors and media representatives.

“A critic of the government’s gross mishandling of Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections in July last year  had urged the Najib administration to discard its “Cold War” mindset and to modernize its concepts to address internal security and national issues.

“But this “Cold War” mentality seemed to be very dominant in the gross mishandling of Bersih 3.0 “sit-in” after 3 pm last Saturday,” he added.

Kit Siang reminded the Najib administration that the “enemy” was no longer armed communists battling a jungle war but a civilian movement consisting of politically awakened middle class that is wired to the global community.

He added that the people were moved by fully legitimate issues based on the Malaysian Constitution such as free and fair elections; human rights of freedom of assembly and association; integrity, good, clean and incorruptible governance.

With regard to the government’s gross mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally, the Ipoh Timur MP said that Najib was able to pause,  backtrack and salvage the situation before more damage was done – resulting in his Malaysia Day speech on September 16 on Political Transformation with a raft of promised reforms on democratic freedoms and human rights.

“Is Najib  capable of piercing through the fog of self-serving propaganda by his advisers to realise  that Bersih 3.0 is an even greater disaster for him than Bersih 2.0, creating the “ugliest day in media history in Malaysia” with reporters and photographers  protesting on World Press Freedom Day yesterday wearing black with yellow ribbon and police professionalism suffering its worst “black eye” in history with the  police rampage of violence and brutality against peaceful protestors and media representatives?

“Does Najib realise for instance that the  Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who had earlier said that Bersih 3.0 was “no security threat” as it had “no traction” and who was very fast in praising “police restraint and professionalism” despite the worst case of  police rampage of violence and brutality, cannot inspire public confidence that there would be a no holds-barred public inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 violence and brutality regardless of the victims – whether the police, journalists or peaceful protestors?

“Can Najib pause, backtrack and salvage the situation before more damage is done to his administration and the country’s international image from an even more disastrous mishandling of Bersih 3.0 “sit-in”  than the Bersih 2.0 rally last July?” he asked. -The Rocket

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