Posts Tagged ‘Bersih’

(A Facebook picture shows Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri being served turtle eggs allegedly at the Restoran Indah Keranamu in Sandakan which went viral)

Media has always been a significant pillar of society. Media doesn’t just report happenings, it also builds public opinion. This puts the media in a powerful position in a democracy and wherever there is power there is a chance of misuse of that power.

In some countries, powerful media houses are said to have influenced election results by portraying people and events a certain way. In Malaysia too.

The media space has changed a lot with the emergence of social media. With social media, the public has eyes and ears everywhere. They are not limited to camera crews of a few TV channels or reporters of a few newspapers.

Social media is a platform that showcases public opinion such that it cannot be easily doctored. It reflects the pulse of society. Even traditional media channels keep an eye on ongoing social media trends.

In the recent past, we have seen so many top news stories originate from social media. Apart from highlighting issues that are socially relevant and crucial, social media has also exposed the disconnect between the government and the population. People are more aware of what our leaders are up to and exchange notes on how laws and policies affecting them are being made. Gone are the days when the government could pass laws behind closed doors without the public realising it for months. Thanks to the social media, discussion on political issues and implications is widespread and immediate.

Some politicians thrive on keeping communities apart and playing one’s interests over the other to secure their votebanks. As boundaries between people blur over social media, and they become more aware and better informed, this will no longer be easy to do. One needs to be more aware and alert while making speeches or statements. People see through any gimmick done with an ulterior motive and any sign of a narrow mindset comes in for severe criticism, just like the ‘kafir harbi’ issue.

Like all powerful tools, social media should also be used with utmost care and responsibility failing which it can cause damage to the society. In the recent terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in Turkey, terrorists used social media widely to plan and execute their attacks, 42 people were killed and injured hundreds of others. More recently, in Sabah, The Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA), headed by Huguan Siou Joseph Pairin Kitingan had to lodge a police report against the “Majlis Himpunan Rakyat Membantah Penarikan MyKad” (Council of the Gathering of Citizens to Protest the Withdrawal of the MyKad) which was planing to hold an anti-RCI event in Kota Kinabalu on May 31, a poster on the event circulating in social media went viral, social media was used to spread panic and fear among Sabahans leading to the police report.

However, with its potential to bring people together, social media also holds immense promise as a tool for social change. We have recently seen many successfully executed protests organised over social media that have made the right impact,like Bersih the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, for the first time, the act of mass civil disobedience ran for 34 hours in Kuala Lumpur. Another application of social media could be to effectively utilize the vast diversity of human resource that Sabah has which is still lying untapped. For instance, in my SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo) church, somebody announces a dental camp in a locality on a date and others join, including doctors, dentist, dental nurses and even pharmacist. Likewise, somebody announces a tree planting drive or a cleaning drive and people support the initiative with their time or resources.

We are clearly passing through a phase of transformation. Sabah is a nation of youth who have a big role to play in that transformation.

Social media is a medium that connects them and gives them voice. This voice is growing louder. It is a welcome sign and I’m really glad Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has embrace the social media in a big way and he is very active on Facebook and Twitter and WhatsApp groups, and he regularly updates events and photos.

Mathias Chang the former political secretary to Tun Dr Mahathir is a “one of a kind” maveric and is one of the sharpest commentators on Malaysian affairs. His analysis is always meticulously well researched and well written, and I’ve enjoyed reading him for years. See here his piece on yesterdays, July 9 Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur. Now, I know for sure Home Minister Hishamudin Hussein Onn has his head-in-the-toilet-bowl.

By Matthias Chang

Barisan Nasional’s War of Intimidation has backfired. Malaysians no longer fear the sight of armed security forces, the threat of racial riots and or the Communist bogey. Pictures of the peaceful determination and resolve of the Bersih demonstrators say it all. Objective Malaysians (the silent majority) cannot but be impressed with the maturity and faith of those who were willing to face arrest and police intimidation to uphold their principles.

Yes, Malaysia is not Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen etc. but there is a common thread – the people’s frustrations (real or otherwise) and the need for expressing their discontent cannot be suppressed. The arrogance of power is no match for grass-root activism.

It is indeed ironic that the “1Malaysia” slogan of the Prime Minister (a united multi- racial Malaysia) was reflected more in the ranks of the Bersih 2.0 campaign on 9th July 2011 than in the ranks of political opportunist and upstart Khairy Jamaluddin’s miniscule band of “Red Shirts” provocateurs. Perkasa as predicted had no mass following and was totally absent in spite of its provocative bravado.

I have been informed that some of the Prime Minister’s close advisers on strategy are so-called experts on “Blue Ocean Strategy”, the essence of which is to “make the competition irrelevant and creating uncontested market place”.

After the fiasco on 9th July 2011, may I suggest to the Prime Minister and theentire Barisan Nasional leadership that their first priority is to dump these political wannabes who are totally devoid of any knowledge and experience of the political realities on the ground.

The “political competition” of the Opposition has become more relevant than ever and has captured and occupied more effectively – physically and mentally both the uncontested and contested “political market place”. The BN government has spent RM billions, but has yet to show concrete results “on the ground, at the grass-roots level”. If these assholes cannot even handle a simple issue of a public demonstration, and the Prime Minister and the entire BN leadership still insist on relying on this bunch of immature political wannabes, then there is but one conclusion – Barisan Nasional will suffer a major setback in the coming General Election.

And if the election is held this year, I am willing to put my reputation on the line as a former political secretary to the fourth Prime Minister, that Barisan Nasional will never be able to reclaim the 2/3rd majority in Parliament as well as the four state governments controlled by the Opposition coalition.
The Prime Minister will be ousted within six months from date of the election.

All these so-called advisers and political pundits can do a better service to the nation if they just spend 24/7 for an entire month, watching the Chinese historical epic “The Three Kingdoms” on sale in any DVD shop in Malaysia. They may just be able to learn some basic lessons on Political Strategy 101.

My second advice to the Prime Minister is to send his cousin, the Home Minister to be psycho-analysed for “Enlarged Ego Syndrome” (EES) and to revamp the entire senior management of the national security apparatus of the Polis Diraja Malaysia (the Royal Malaysian Police Force).

My third advice to the Prime Minister is to place in cold storage, the irrelevant UMNO Youth leader. If you do that, you would have – to a certain extent – applied the Blue Ocean Strategy. Your biggest problem and challenge is internal, within the ranks of your party – UMNO political warlords, not the Opposition parties.

These UMNO leaders are intellectually bankrupt and politically outdated.

What lessons can we draw from today’s event? To draw any conclusions and learn from the experience, we have to address the following questions:

Firstly, why did the so-called Blue Ocean Strategy experts fail to anticipate a repeat of Bersih 2007 and take pre-emptive measures?

Secondly, why did the national security apparatus fail to anticipate Bersih 2.0? When were the Prime Minister and the cabinet briefed on the Bersih 2.0 demonstration?

Thirdly, why did the Barisan Nasional government allow the Perkasa provocateurs to hijack the stage to mount their ill-conceived fascist-like reaction to Bersih, followed by the immature UMNO Youth’s belated bravado?

Fourthly, why did the Prime Minister, after agreeing to allow Bersih to congregate in a stadium, not follow through with that magnanimous decision by directing the police to grant the relevant permits, but flip-flopped and allowed the security apparatus to take complete charge?

Fifthly, what made the Barisan Nasional propaganda machinery think that by locking down the entire city since Friday evening, there will be a blowback – anger and opposition by the grass-roots – against the organisers of the Bersih 2.0 demonstration, and not against Barisan Nasional for their high-handed action?

Sixthly, was there any evaluation that by taking the sledge-hammer approach to Bersih 2.0 demonstration for “fair and clean elections”, the Barisan Nasional government will be able to retain its supporters and gain new adherents or on the contrary piss off its very own supporters and alienate further the 40% undecided voters?

Finally, what were the identified strategic objectives to be gained by adopting the sledge-hammer approach and how would they enhance the results in favour of the Barisan Nasional government in the coming General Election?

I am curious to know from the Blue Ocean Strategists, the Political Secretaries, the Special Officers and the highly paid consultants what Strategic Briefs/Memoranda that they have submitted to the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional leadership.

The rakyat has the right to know as well. It is arrogance, height of irresponsibility and a dereliction of duty if no detail briefs were prepared and submitted for consideration.

It is my estimation that it will take a minimum of ten months at the minimum to repair the damage done to the image of the Barisan Nasional in general and the prime minister in particular, provided there is a coherent strategy to address and resolve the issues that are close to the hearts and minds of the grass-roots and the sophisticated urban middle-class voters (young and old). The administrative machinery is a giant bureaucracy – a super oil tanker. From top down, over 95 percent of the manpower is project-orientated, in plain BN language, money-orientated – “what’s in it for me” mentality. Everyone is eyeing the multi- billion dollar cake, the multi-billion dollar patronage gravy train.

But all that is required is going back to basics.

By Bersih 2.0

Malaysians from all walks of life have travelled a very long road to reach this defining point in our nation’s history. With less than 24 hours to our intended peaceful gathering, our resolve to walk the last, most difficult mile as one united people in pursuit of clean and fair elections and a better Malaysia for all is firmer than ever.

Our reason for gathering is pure and simple — to demand the electoral roll be cleaned, that the postal voting system be reformed, that indelible ink be used, a minimum 21 day campaign period be instated, free and fair access to media for all be provided, public institutions be strengthened, and for corruption as well as dirty politics to be stopped.

The authorities have put obstacle after obstacle where they only needed to provide sincere cooperation to win the trust and confidence of the people. Having faced half-hearted offers of stadiums, arrogance regarding meetings as well as denials of permits, arrests, detentions and so much more, we feel that we have done all that is humanly possible to demonstrate sincerity and good faith in dealing with the government — but we have only been met with reversed decisions and stone walls.

There are no walls however, that will arrest the advance of the cause of peace and justice. Come the 9th of July, we will uphold our constitutional right to converge peacefully on Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.

No government agency has any right whatsoever to prevent Malaysians from exercising their freedom of movement and access to our capital city. No threat or intimidation can overturn this fundamental truth.

Malaysians have now seen for themselves the degree of paranoia and lack of principled leadership that seems to have gripped the government. It is thus all the more imperative that patriotic Malaysians rise now and take this stand together to save Malaysia from slipping further into this insane darkness.

Since the beginning of Bersih 2.0, we have witnessed nothing but the utmost bravery and commitment to peace and justice demonstrated by ordinary Malaysians from every walk of life. Inspired by this example, the Bersih 2.0 leadership reiterates our own unyielding commitment to our shared cause, and to being at Stadium Merdeka at 2pm tomorrow. We will meet at the car park, and trust that the doors will be opened for us.

This is Malaysia’s single most important defining moment in recent history, and we are fully confident that the rakyat will heed the call to safeguard the principles Malaysia was founded on and together ensure that we pass down to our children a nation that is just, democratic and united in love for one another.

* The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) steering committee comprises Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan (Chairperson), Andrew Khoo, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Dr Farouk Musa, Haris Ibrahim, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,

The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) was most disappointed to read that you have completely abrogated your responsibilities with regards to those who have been arrested or detained in connection with BERSIH 2.0, saying that you will leave it to the police to decide on their release. You also said that it was up to the police whether the arrests of people wearing BERSIH T-shirts or displaying BERSIH paraphernalia would continue.

In light of the intercession of DYMM Yang di Pertuan Agong and the subsequent concessions made by the BERSIH 2.0 steering committee, your non-committal position is weak, indecisive and most ungracious.

Over the last two weeks, we and all the Rakyat have witnessed our elected government, in particular the Ministry of Home Affairs, and Polis di Raja Malaysia, trample on our civil liberties in a bid to crush the BERSIH 2.0 spirit.

PDRM have arrested people on the most spurious charges, like wearing yellow clothing or having T-shirts bearing pictures of old CPM members. They have floated the idea that Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is waging war against the Agong by plotting to revive communism. They have attempted to link BERSIH 2.0 movement to this allegation.

The Deputy Prime Minister accused “major powers” of supporting BERSIH 2.0. Disregarding the clearly worded demands of the movement’s planned “Walk for Democracy”, the Home Minister declared the movement illegal claiming that it was inciting people to create an atmosphere of unrest.

The upshot of the relentless spinning by your administration and PDRM is the arrest of more than 200 people, including opposition politicians and activists, in connection with the BERSIH 2.0 rally, and that number appears to be growing by the hour.

Of greatest concern is the detention of six members of PSM under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), including Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, PSM deputy chairperson M Saraswathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sukumaran, Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan, and PSM Youth leader Sarat Babu.

We were very disturbed to hear reports that the detainees, in particular, the PSM members, had been ill-treated while in custody and deprived of their right to legal representation.

Datuk Seri Najib, these actions by members of your Cabinet as well as the PDRM are completely unacceptable and have tarnished your administration not just in the eyes of the Rakyat but also the international community.

The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement urges you to step up as the head of the elected government and do your part in restoring good sense and civility to your administration. Show the Rakyat that you, your cabinet and PDRM respect the Federal Constitution and the laws of the country which emanate from it. Release all the detainees unconditionally and drop all unfounded charges against them. Stop the harassment of BERSIH 2.0 and its supporters.

Understand that BERSIH 2.0 is a civil society initiative and that it has the support of the majority of Malaysians who desire nothing more than clean and fair elections. Opposing BERSIH 2.0 sends the message that you are against the most fundamental democratic principles that underpin the formation of our beloved nation.



PRESS RELEASE- Bersih 2.0 Global Solidarity Network

The events unfolding in Malaysia in the lead up to a rally calling for electoral reform on 9 July 2011, by Bersih 2.0, a civil society coalition, have jarred a nerve with many Malaysians living abroad.

In the wake of the government crackdown, over the last week, of the legitimate rights of the Malaysian people to peacefully demonstrate, a Bersih 2.0 Global Solidarity Network has sprung up with co-ordinated action and support developing in Australia, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Switzerland, Austria and United States to date.

Global solidarity walks and demonstrations have been planned on the 9th of July 2011 in London, Taiwan, Sydney, Melbourne, Cranberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington in the pursuit of clean and fair elections in Malaysia.

Since the 24th of June 2011, more than 100 activists have been arrested or questioned by police for their role and participation in activities related to the mass rally calling for electoral reform on the 9th of July 2011. Most recently, on the 2nd of July 2011, six people arrested on the 25th of June 2011 in Penang were re-arrested under the Emergency Ordinance a law which allows for indefinite detention without trial.

We believe the incidents above are clearly politically motivated and are aimed at intimidating the Bersih 2.0 organisers, political activists and the wider public from going ahead with the planned rally on the 9th of July. This crackdown shows an utter disregard for freedom of peaceful expression and assembly, a right which is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and under Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution. We believe by continuing these scare tactics, the Malaysian government is seriously damaging the country’s reputation abroad.

There remains a growing concern that the government and associated right wing groups such as PERKASA and PERKIDA might attempt to orchestrate violence at the peaceful rally and use it as an opportunity to arrest many human rights activists and opposition leaders under Malaysia’s notorious Internal Security Act that allows for indefinite detention without trial.

We call on the Malaysian government to:
• Release all activists who have been arrested immediately and unconditionally and drop all unfounded charges against them;
• Ensure all those detained have access to lawyers, their family members and any medical care they may require;
• Stop the use of repressive laws such as the Emergency Ordinance, Police Act and Sedition laws to criminalize peaceful political activities;
• Respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly
• Conduct itself in a manner that is befitting of a member of the UN Human Rights Council and in doing so earn the respect of the international community and the Malaysian people it serves.

Please take positive action and attend a solidarity walk near you.

Bersih 2.0 Australia

Canberra’s Update:

Event Page –
Date: 9th July
Venue: Parliament Front Entrance

Time: 12.30pm

If you need transport, please be at Davey Lodge at 12.00pm. Please wear yellow and bring cameras along with you to capture this historical moment. Apart from the photo session, we will be having a small picnic with the organizers so may bring some simple things to share (chips, biscuits, fruits, soft drinks, etc)

Sydney’s Update:

Event page –

Date: 9th July

Venue: Sydney CBD Town Hall

Join us to support BERSIH. For democratic, for clean & fair elections, for a better Malaysia.

Melbourne’s Update:

Event page –

Date: 9th July

Venue: Federation Square

Time: 1.30pm


Perth’s Update:

Date: 9th of July

Venue: Malaysian Consulate-General, 252 Adelaide Terrace, Perth, Australia

Time: 1.30pm

Adelaide’s Update:

Fan Page –
Event page –

Date: 9th of July

Venue: Victoria square, Adelaide (opposite hilton adelaide, near the victoria water fountains)

Time: 2pm


Brisbane’s Update:

Event Page –

Date: 9th July

Venue: Brisbane Square

Time: 1.30pm

Let’s join us to support BERSIH. For democratic, for clean & fair elections, for a better Malaysia.


Bersih 2.0 London

Date : 9th July 2011

Time: 12-2pm

Location : Meet Malaysian High Commission, Belgrave Square at 12pm sharp
(nearest Tube Station Hyde Park Corner)
12.20-2pm Solidarity Walk ending at Trafalgar Square!/pages/Bersih-20-UK-Walk/111909382231134


Bersih Taiwan

Date : 9 Julai 2011

Time : 2.00pm

Location : The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Liberty Square,Taipei

Please try to wear yellow clothing and bring your umbrella


1. 向出席者説明主辦此次集會的目的與意義
2. 念訴求
3. 輪番演講(如莊迪澎先生)
4. 現場交流
5. 出席者簽備忘錄(將交到馬來西亞駐台辦事處)


Bersih 2.0 USA

San Francisco’s update

Date: 9th July 2011

Time: 9.30-12.20pm

Location : Chrissy Field Picnic Area (near Warming Hut), Presidio, San


Los Angeles Update

Date : 9th July 2011

Time : 10:00 – 13:00

Location : Pershing Square, Downtown LA 532 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA

New York City Update

Date : 9th July 2011
Time : 10:00 – 13:00

Location : Consulate General of Malaysia , 313 East 43rd Street ,New York, NY


Date : 9th July 2011

Time : 14:00 – 17:00

Location : Embassy of Malaysia, Washington ,3516 International Court Northwest, Washington, DC


Bersih 2.0 Paris

Date : Saturday 9th July 2011
Time : 2-4pm
Place: Place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris
Metro: Trocadéro (lines 6 and 9)!/event.php?eid=166717446726635



Despite the Malaysian government working hard to sell Malaysia as a tourist destination and being a member of the UN Human Rights Council, it remains clear that its dismal human rights record leaves much to be desired. The Malaysian people continue to find their civil liberties and basic human rights curtailed on a daily basis by a range of repressive laws. Corruption and a lack of government accountability and transparency continue to be seen as real problems by many Malaysians.

One of the biggest threats to developing a mature democracy in Malaysia is the impediments to free and fair elections. Malaysia’s elections are frequently marred by gerrymandering, money politics, phantom voters, voter buying, rigging and various other fraudulent practises. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has in two recent by-elections been caught on video offering millions of ringgit to voters in exchange for their votes.

In 2005, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) was formed. It is comprised of Malaysian civic and human rights organisations campaigning for electoral reforms and independent monitoring of elections in the country. Bersih 2.0 plans to hold a mass rally on 9 July 2011 to demand, among others, fair access of all political parties to the media, reform of the discriminatory postal ballots system and a revision of the electoral roll to address irregularities for the upcoming 13th General Elections to be held in mid-2012. A similar rally in 2007 attracted over 40,000 supporters and was conducted in a peaceful and organized manner. It was re-launched in 2010 as BERSIH 2.0, still with eight (8) basic demands, which including (1) cleaning up the electoral roll (2) Reform the postal ballot (3) Use indelible ink (4) Minimum 21 days campaign period (50 Free and fair access to media (6) Strengthening public institutions (7) Stop corruption (8) Stop dirty politics.

On the 25th of June 2011, 30 activists from the Parti Sosialis Malaysia were arrested by the police in Kepala Batas, Penang. They were accused of ‘reviving the communist ideology’ and have been remanded under Section 122 of the Penal Code for “waging war against the King.

On the 27th of June 2011, the chairperson of Bersih 2.0, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and poet Datuk A. Samad Said were summoned to the Dang Wangi police station. Both are being investigated under Section 27(5) of the Malaysian Police Act for organising an “unlawful assembly” and Section 27(5) of the Sedition Act.

On the 29th of June 2011, police officers from the Selangor State Headquarters raided the office of the the Bersih 2.0 Secretariat without a warrant. They arrested 7 people and confiscated laptops, cameras as well as materials prepared for the rally including t-shirts, leaflets, banners and placards. On the 30th of June 2011, police arrested four people in Ipoh, including a member of parliament and state assemblyman, while they were meeting voters wearing yellow clothes, the official colour of the Bersih movement. On the 2nd of July, six of those arrested were charged under the Emergency Ordinance, a law that allows for indefinite detention without trial.

Press contact :
Josef Roy
Tel : ++ 44 (0) 794260804

Yolanda Augustin
Tel : ++ 44 (0) 7894319056


Always told friends that Barisan National will rule Malaysia even past my lifetime as there will NEVER be a level playing field for the opposition forces when it comes to fair and free elections in this so-called Malaysian democracy.

So when Raja Petra told me that BERSIH, a coalition of NGOs and opposition political parties, will organise on November 10th, Saturday, a march to Istana Negara from Dataran Merdeka to submit a memorandum to our Agong asking that free and fair elections beheld in Malaysia, I could not resist it and wanted to be counted. I readily told Pet, yes, I shall be there at Dataran Merdeka.

Drove alone from Penang on November 9th and stayed overnight in Kelana Jaya.

On 10th morning at 8am, took the LRT from Kelana Jaya and headed to KL Sentral to have Indian breakfast at Brickfields. After breakfast headed back to KL Sentral to get LRT to Masjid Jamek. In the train, I noticed a few passengers wearing the yellow Bersih t-shirts, just like me. Made eye contact and nodded our heads although all those wearing yellow Bersih t-shirts were all strangers. I could feel there was a strange kind of bond between us all, but the faces showed some signs of uncertainty as though something is going to happen. I could feel the anxiety and fear created by the apparatus to generate “a climate of violence” and “create a scenario similar to the 13 May 1969″, when there was racial riots in Kuala Lumpur and then EMERGENCY declared in Malaysia.

At 9.30am I reached Masjid Jamek. While walking out of the LRT station its drizzling. I see scores of people with  bersih t-shirts all along the road and walkway taking cover from the rain. There were cops at both sides of the road just watching people. From where I was, I was also able to see a big number of people congregating in the Masjid Jemak compound.

I continue to walk pass Masjid Jemak along to Jalan Tun Perak towards Dataran Merdeka and its still drizzling. I reached the fringes of Dataran Merdeka, the rain gets even heavier and I’m almost drench. I noticed Dataran Merdeka empty except large police presence and FRU trucks. I continued to walk somewhere near Royal Selangor Club, 2 cops approach me and asked what I was doing and where I was heading for? Told the cops I’m from the press and I’m going to the Library to take cover from the rain. They give me a nasty look because of the Bersih t-shirt I’m wearing but they allow me to go. I take cover outside the library.

At 11.30 I get a call from Raja Petra who is at the Selangor Club also taking cover from the rain. Pet tells me to go to Masjid Negara. There is a change in plan he tells me. Pet tells me to wait for further instruction at Masjid Negara. Pet also tells me, Muslims in the mosque wont mind me and I shall be safe there.

By noon the rain stopped a little and I decided to walk up to the Masjid Negara. At the Masjid Negara, the gates are closed and there are many people outside and also a huge crowd inside. The mosque was packed to the brim, like it would be during Friday Prayers. I called Pet to inform him that the gates are locked preventing people from entering or leaving the mosque. Pet tells me to hang on there and tells me that the mosque officials cannot close the gates as it is going to be prayer time_Zohor prayer and therefore the officials HAVE to open the gates before 1pm. Pet was right, just before 1pm the gates were opened by the mosque officials.

Inside the compound of Masjid Negara by now there was so many people, maybe 10,000. Everyone was either wearing yellow Bersih t-shirts or the maroon t-shirts belonging to the Angota unit AMAL PAS (PAS’s uniformed wing).  The spectacular sight was however after the Zohor prayers, when the crowd emerged all clad in yellow. I was totally shocked when I saw this. They had kept the shirts in the bags and changed them after the prayers.

Meanwhile, the unit Amal chaps were helping to control the crowd inside the mosque and some were distributing pack food. I too took a packet which had rice, vegetables and meat and ate it under the palm tree with 4 others. It was nice feeling of solidarity.

Pet calls again to find out how I’m coping and he tells me that the cops have moved in on a group of people in and around Sogo area and Masjid Jemak, cops are tear gassing and shooting chemical laced water cannon on them.

At about 1.30 pm, Hywel Davies from AlJAZEERA picks a conversation with me. He asked what I thought of the whole thing? I told him finally civil society in Malaysia has woken up! No one can break this spirit of solidarity amongst the multiracial population as seen here today where me a Hindu never felt so safe among Muslim brothers in the National Mosque of Malaysia. This is a strange feeling and for once I feel proud to be a Malaysian.

At about 2 pm, from where I was, I could see a stream of yellow slowly moving on the highway towards the Istana. Everyone is excited by now and ready to join the crowd in the highway. The AMAL unit moves into action and forms a human chain and we move very orderly to join the group coming from Dataran side on the Highway. I’m right in front, cross some 3 feet railings in the middle of the road to join the marchers. Everyone is running and its chaotic. Suddenly, from nowhere I’m locked hands and my hands are tightly interlocked with Salahuddin Ayub , MP PAS Kubang Kerian . We are walking fast as though running and behind us there are others sort of running to catch up. Everyone seem like very excited. As we march we chant HIDUP! HIDUP! HIDUP RAKYAT! DAULAT TENGKU! This is our battle cry. By now the marchers have swelled to 40-50 thousands – A SEA OF YELLOW!

I’m still marching in front and it looks like there are other groups from Sogo, Masjid Jemak, Daya Bumi, and all around town have come in to join us. The crowd look charged. Suddenly I see the FRU barrier i.e a human wall of cops, cops with batons and shield right in front of me. I’m smack right in front with the Amal boys facing the cops just meters away from the police human chain. There is a stand-off between the crowd and riot police-backed by water cannon trucks – about 200 meters from Istana Negara. Three police helicopters are hovering above.

The human line formed by the  AMAL unit separated the crowd from the police line, thus preventing any untoward and unwanted incident from happening. I was amazingly impressed and confident that this would be a peaceful rally, which it was. I felt safe mingling with both the crowd and the police at this stage.


We told the crowd to stop moving any closer to the police barrier. The crowd was very good and responsive and very polite and was good humoured and followed instructions. The crowd sat down waiting for the delegation of BERSIH leaders to handover the petition to the palace officials. We sat with the rest of the crowd waiting for the delegation to return from the palace ground. Meanwhile, the police helicopters chattered over us taking snap shots and it was difficult to talk due to the noise.

It’s 3.30 and suddenly there is a loud roar and the crowd all stand-up, we hear Anwar has come on a motorcycle to join the delegation to the palace. The crowd gets frenzy when they see Anwar coming down from the bike. Anwar is hoisted on a shoulder and handed the load hailer. He gave a brief speech which could not be heard from where I was because of the helicopters were still hovering overhead.

At 4 pm, Anwar and the delegation is out from the palace after delivering the memorandum. Immediately, the KL Police Chief on top of the FRU Truck used the load hailer asking the crowd to disperse in 5 minutes. The crowd agrees and they slowly move back towards town. The crowd move very peacefully.

I walk with the crowd back to Pasar Sani LRT Station. The Amal unit is still seen ensuring that there is orderly dispersal of the crowd.  Throughout our dispersal, the cars that passed by would wind down their window, honk like crazy and roar encouragement at us while giving us the thumbs up. The crowds finally dissipated.

While walking back I see the crowd so mixed with old and young of all races walking so peacefully and happy as though the impossible has been achieved by their participation in this important event and they have finally made history in Malaysia.