Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dataran Off-limits by Court Order

It was on the front page of newspapers – the Police obtained a magistrate's court order which prohibits organizers and the public from gathering at Dataran Merdeka from midnight Friday until 12:01 AM on Wednesday, May 01, 2012. The areas stated in the order include Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Jalan Raja and Jalan Kelab. The exception is the land occupied by the Royal Selangor Club.

Police also warned that anyone who encroached on the area during the four-day period would be arrested and charged with disobeying an order promulgated by a public servant.

Still, in spite of the court order, Bersih 3.0 is expected to proceed as planned. Already, Malaysians from all walks of life are preparing to converge to Dataran Merdeka this morning. Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan had said that globally, Bersih 3.0 is going to be held at 80 locations, and nationally at 11 locations. This is not a national event – it is global!

By the way, last night, already close to two thousand people had descended on the fringes of Dataran Merdeka to camp overnight.

More ominously, was this Sarawak Report that they had obtained copies of a highly intimidating email that has been sent out on Thursday, April 26, 2012 by one Mohd Nazrol Marzuke, an official from Malaysia’s Education Department in Washington to all Malaysian students receiving grants in the United States. Written in dire language, the email blatantly threatened students that if they are “so rash” as to take part in Bersih rallies calling for Free and Fair Elections they risk “very serious peril” and could be stripped of their scholarships.

The email mirrored verbal threats that were reported to have been issued over past days to students in several countries including the UK. Many had resorted to buying masks, so that they could take part in the peaceful demonstrations without being identified by Malaysian Special Branch Officers, who were expected to be monitoring and photographing the rallies. Others will undoubtedly be fearful of taking part.

The tactic, which attacked fundamental civil liberties in the students’ host countries, has drawn outrage amongst academics and politicians in both Britain and America. Yesterday, Member of Parliament Tom Greatrex, a Member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaysia, said: “…The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to any democracy, as are free and fair elections, and they should not be subverted with threats and intimidation.”

Legal experts are suggesting meanwhile that the Malaysian Embassy my have overstepped its diplomatic status in its host country by what may be judged as criminal intimidation against residents of that country seeking to exercise their civil rights.

Of course, the Najib government is extremely worried. And we will show how fed-up Malaysians are with this government and you can expect tens of thousands to march to Dataran Merdeka today!!!

No comments: