(The King who presided over the previous Bersih 1.0 is once again have made declaration that should bring the Government and Bersih 2.0 on talking terms again – hopefully. Image source: http://pinkturtle2.wordpress.com)
Well, it could have been an indirect warning to Bersih 2.0 or it could have been the lifeline that Najib been looking for to bring the tug-of-war between the Government and Bersih 2.0 to a friendlier conclusion but still, it is an interesting and timely statement from the King.
From the Star:-
“I am following closely the developments of the proposed gathering and procession by Bersih with the aim of handing over a memorandum to me as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and how the government, particularly the agencies and departments concerned, is handling the issue.
“However, I believe that the nation’s leadership under Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak is capable of handling this problem in the best possible way.
“I urge that amid the political fervour of a section of the people to bolster democracy in our country, it must also be ensured that this demand on democracy does not bring destruction to the country.
“Generally, we cannot be following too much the practices in other countries, as harmony and stability are vital foundations for a country and which all quarters must protect.
“I also urge the government to carry out everything that is entrusted to it by the people in a just and wise manner, and it is important that I as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong do not want to see this country with a plural society in a situation where there is animosity among them or a section of the people being enemies with the government, on whatever grounds.
“When any problem arises, we as a civilised society must resolve it through consultations and not follow our emotions, as the Malay saying goes, Yang Dikejar Tak Dapat Yang Dikendong Berciciran (Not getting what we chase after and spilling what we carry).
“The fact is, street demonstrations bring more bad than good although the original intention is good. Instead, we should focus on our main objective to develop this country, and not create problems that will cause the country to lag behind.
“Remember that there is no land where the rain does not fall, there is no ocean that is not turbulent. That is how important moderation and compromise is, which has been long been in practice by our nation’s administration.”
Yes, it is a translated text but there are wise messages for both side of the divide from the King and if one read between the lines (rather widely, of course), is the King telling the Government that they are not handling the situation wisely?
Consider these statements:-
“…Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak is capable of handling this problem…”
The King says Najib is capable of, he did not say Najib IS handling the best possible way. As at todate, instead of engaging Bersih 2.0 in a more matured ways, the Government, unfortunately, has only acted irrational and with a pinch of paranoia from labelling the organizers as trouble makers, banning yellow Bersih T-shirts under an unnamed law, arresting groups of protestors under unimaginative charges, to stopping pre-Bersih 2.0 rallies.
“….a section of the people being enemies with the government…”
Instead of using the label “trouble makers” for the organizers of Bersih 2.0, the King calls them “a section of the people” which is true and admirable because Bersih 2.0 at the end of the day is nothing but ordinary citizens who have certain demands for the Government.
And when the ordinary citizens are deemed to be enemies of the Government, it is actually reflecting badly on the Government, not the people. This is because the Government is elected by the people and once you fall out with the people, it could mean the end of you in the next elections.
No doubt, there were messages for Bersih 2.0 as well – to continue with direct engagements with the relevant stakeholders instead of doing it through street rallies and demonstrations.
And there seems to be some positive development towards that both from Bersih 2.0 and the Government (they seems to agree on the rally to be held in a stadium now) but do expect massive traffic jam during the weekend especially towards the city centre.
The ball is in the Government’s court now – demands of Bersih 2.0 only calls for betterment of the election process (minus the call for street rally perhaps). We would not have even gotten to Bersih 1.0 if the whole election process has been well managed and fair from the very start.
The truth of the matter is that it is not – one must admit that loopholes still exist and even the EC has admitted that there is “only so much” they could do although many may disagree with this – certainly “cleaning the electoral roll, reforming postal balloting, use of indelible ink, and minimum 21 days campaigning period is well within the ambit and ability of the EC.
P.s. In the meantime, it seems that Ibrahim Ali is now so upset because the King is willing to see the organizers of Bersih 2.0 and not him. His quote of the day – “We at Perkasa have written many times to meet with the King on several issues but we’ve never gotten that” was timely responded by one of the readers with this statement “Ibrahim Ali? Perkasa? I am not surprised with Istana Negara’s decision”. Now that is funny!
If the people (or that section of the people) are happy, they will not make any demands on the government. So, now, the government must take heed of those demands and do something about them otherwise, things will go the wrong directions and escalate into something that we all do not want to see happening here. If the 9th July BERSIH rally does not take place and the government chooses to ignore or pooh pooh whatever demands that have been put forth by that section of the people, either directly or perceived, the government will be just looking for trouble.
If the Government ignores and does nothing on the Bersih 2.0 demands, one can expect to see Bersih 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, etc very soon indeed
On or off, the BERSIH 2.0 rally and demands asking for a clean, trustworthy and efficient government are already loud and clear and the government needs to do something about it. A dialogue between the government and BERSIH would be appropriate and this will at least be seen as an act to honour Najib’s ‘Pencapaian di utamakan, rakyat di dahulukan’ slogan. If I were Najib, I will take this matter as an opportunity and to address whatever weaknesses perceived by the people about himself and the government.
Wonder what Najib is waiting for more?