Friday, November 18, 2016

Putting Out All the Stops to Stop Bersih 5.0

The authorities are putting out all the stops to prevent Malaysians from participating in pro-reform rally Bersih 5.0.

It is not only the police who threaten rally-goers. Nor the red-shirted goons who terrorize peaceful protestors.

On Tuesday, Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid announced that teachers can expect suspension from duty if they participate in Bersih 5.0. The minister also called on parents and guardians not to allow their schooling children to attend the “illegal” rally.

Public universities had already assaulted our ears with their usual grim warnings of disciplinary action against students and staff participating in Bersih 5.0.

Private universities too.

On Wednesday, the Malaysian campus of Monash University warned their students that they will be punished if found to have participated in illegal rallies but had since claimed just a day later that they were only dissuading their students against purportedly breaking a law in the country.

A similar warning was also allegedly given by Curtin University’s Malaysian campus in Miri, Sarawak.

The Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa similarly issued a stern warning to civil servants – to stay away from the Bersih rally or face disciplinary action – and that can include a pay cut or even sacking.

And Malay traders in the city tried to stop Bersih 2.0 but today, the High Court rejected their application for an injunction.

Therefore, it is timely that Suhakam (National Human Rights Commission) had said the right to peacefully assemble is protected under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Chairperson Razali Ismail however said those holding counter-rallies to "intimidate" others from peacefully assembling are not protected under the Federal Constitution. I don’t believe the Red Shirts care two hoots about what he had said.

And as I post this, the cops raided the Bersih office and they also detained Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and fellow committee member Mandeep Singh.  Also, DAP's Ronnie Liu and Anthony Loke. And Parti Sosialis Malaysia politician S Arutchelvan. And I am sure, there will be others too.

No matter what, Bersih 5.0 is unstoppable. See you tomorrow!

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