KUALA LUMPUR – November 4, 2016: Malaysians using social media have condemned those behind the Bersih 5.0 rally being planned for November 19 for vowing to proceed despite a government decision against it.
Their argument is that it will lead to violence on the streets and cause other problems to people.
On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi warned both Bersih and the rival Red Shirts movement against holding any assembly to avoid clash between the them.
Zahid referred to a decision by KL City Hall not to allow such a rally at Dataran Merdeka, a site that is excluded from the list of venues under the Peaceful Assembly Act.
However yesterday Bersih deputy chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd. Saari defiantly declared that the rally will be held as planned.
“We will ensure that the rally is peaceful while also ensuring that no one goes against the restrictions set by the police and the City Hall,” he said, adding that participants will not go to Dataran Merdeka or Jalan Raja which have been deemed off-limits by the authorities.
According to Bersih, its fifth edition rally is to protest against issues related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad, aside from calling for institutional reforms and clean elections.
Fadzy Nyhaya considers the Bersih organisers as stubborn and always going against rules and regulations. “And yet they claim to be bersih (clean)”.
Zyn Nazareth says the Bersih decision shows that the organisation has abandoned the country’s democratic system. “Don’t use unlawful means that will breed anarchy and chaos. Even if you (Bersih) manage to change the government of the day through demonstrations, you’ll create a dangerous precedent.”
Ajin Thong believes that Bersih will not be responsible if violence happens during the assembly.
“When violence happens, no one can do anything about it. Ultimately properties are damaged, people get injured, or worse, die.”
Hartawala A Sonny expresses his support for the ban. “I support this. Both Bersih and Red Shirt gatherings are a nuisance and should not be called the people’s movements. They do not represent us.”
But for Mazlan Abdullah, Bersih helps convey the disappointment of many on the atrocities committed by the government. “Banning them is not only undemocratic, it is also unlawful as they protest in peace.”
Lau Eng Shinn thinks Malaysians can gather the way they like. “You have no right to ban any gathering. Why are you so afraid of Bersih?”