Cleaner, freer, fairer, better | Selangor Times
Tuesday
28·03·2017
Issue 118

 

Selangor
Cleaner, freer, fairer, better
Writer: Fahmi Fadzil
Published: Fri, 20 Apr 2012

It’s been a good nine months since the epic Bersih 2.0 rally of July 2011. I still remember the days that came before that mammoth gathering - the tension, the stress, the uncertainties, and most of all: the unyielding desire of the rakyat for free and fair elections - and realize that, given the special circumstance that we are in today what with polls being weeks or months away, those thunderous days may not be repeated verbatim.

At least that seems to be what analysts and some people in the Najib administration are wont to say. And while these may still be early days, the thinking is that by the state not reacting like the over-reactionary hypochondriac that it was last year, people would be dissuaded from attending the third instalment of the gathering to call for free and fair elections.

I personally do not think a public relations-produced “velvet glove” can much hide the “iron fist” with which the governing coalition has practised its brand of politics all these years.

To explain what I mean, we only need to remind ourselves of the speed and stealth employed by the Government in passing the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 last year, much to the dismay and chagrin of human rights activists and legal watchdogs both here and abroad; and just wait until the so-called “ISA replacement bills” are put forward in this session of Parliament - already various bodies are calling for the Najib administration to tread carefully, e.g. the Bar Council has cautioned that the term “security offences” - which include an act that is prejudicial to national security or public safety - is currently too wide.

And let’s not even start with that PSC report.

In the final analysis, the only transformation on show here is of the Decepticon kind.

Nor will a public relations-induced “velvet touch” make many people reconsider supporting Bersih 3.0.

The cautious fashion with which various ministers are already stating the official (sometimes conflicting) position(s) - for example, Nazri says Bersih 3.0 is kosher and the organisation need only speak with the owners of Dataran Merdeka, whereas  Hishammuddin has asked Ambiga and A Samad Said to check in with the police first - is a foreshadowing of what is to come, in the days leading up to April 28 2012.

No matter the “glove” or the “touch”, I, for one, will be attending this rally.

The reason is fairly simple - since the end of 2010, I have been working for Lembah Pantai member of Parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar. And since then, I have come to witness the panoply of problems that beset the electoral roll: total postal voters in 2008 was 146; up until the 3Q11, there was a jump to over 2,100 (an increase of 1,400%) - where did all these policemen come from? Of these, 457 of postal voters come from  Pusat Tahanan Sementara Bukit Jalil, which was a locality in the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary constituency; strangely, this “island of postal voters” will now vote in Lembah Pantai, even though it sits some 7km away from the border; in the physical copy of an electoral roll we received from Election Commission itself, there was a voter by the name of “Balai Polis Kerinchi”.

There are five addresses in Lembah Pantai where over 100 names are registered to vote per address.

Some voters had recently been shifted either into Lembah Pantai (Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s case comes to mind) or out (one voter complained to me personally that he was moved without his knowledge to now vote in Tg Malim).

This is just Lembah Pantai. Multiply this by 222 parliamentary constituencies, and an umpteenth more of state seats, and you’ll start to understand the magnitude of this maelstrom.

And so, dear reader, we must come out in support of Bersih 3.0 on April 28. For a cleaner, freer, fairer, and better elections. For a better democracy. For a better Malaysia.

 

 

 Selangor Times

 

 

Also by Fahmi Fadzil:

Awaiting local, federal elections

THE Malaysian political scene feels like it fits right in with the work of absurdist playwright Beckett’s play entitled ‘Waiting for Godot’, where two characters – Vladimir and Estragon – wait patiently for the arrival of Godot, who never arrives.

New beginnings

Farewell 2012, Hello 13GE

WHAT a year it has been! Who would’ve thought that much of these past 11 months would have sped by with such ferocity?

Reconsidering elected representatives

What is the role of a member of Parliament? A state assemblyperson (ADUN)? A local councillor? 

The day after...

In my last article, I wrote about the need to imagine the hours, days, weeks, and months following the 13th General Election (a most enigmatic event, whose precise date is and will forever be a mystery... until it is called!). 

Change must come but not with violence

A few days ago, I read an article by Liew Chin Tong, the MP for Bukit Bendera, entitled “The Last Mile” (The Rocket, July 2, 2012).

Let’s keep thuggery out

I have been working for Nurul Izzah and Parti Keadilan Rakyat since October 2010.

Tale of two gatherings

This past week saw several different yet, from my point of view, important gatherings of people standing up for what they believe in. I want to write a little bit about two gatherings in particular, and highlight what we may (hopefully) learn from each.

Of sacred cows and secret condos

It’s been a while since my last article appeared in Selangor Times - things have been moving a tad bit faster than usual; even now I’m writing in between completing other tasks, but no matter.

What a year!

“Buka tutup buka tutup mata, dah habis satu tahun.”
 

TTDI residents ready for futsal 'match'

A few Fridays ago, I received an email from my neighbourhood security-watch committee about a new project that had suddenly mushroomed in our little corner of Taman Tun Dr Ismail: a futsal court.

Neighbourhoods under siege

OF late I’ve been thinking a lot about neighbourhoods – all these places where we grew up, started our own families, and basically watched the nation go by.

Cleaner, fairer, better?

PRACTICALLY everyone who is reading this already knows about the July 9 rally organised by the Bersih 2.0 coalition. I believe that many of us were there on the streets on that historic day.

Maafkan kami

I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news, but earlier in June I was kind of in the news as I had to apologise for some things that I had tweeted in January.

Times of change

Of late, we’ve been inundated with talk about withdrawal of subsidies and subsequently the change in the price of sugar, RON95, gas, electricity, etc – some of which has happened, and some of which (for whatever economic or political reason) has not.

Sarawak, show us the way

The recent Sarawak state elections were such a learning experience for many Malaysians. Irrespective of whether we were active participants in the political battles on the ground, or just curious observers reading the news on Twitter, it is clear that Sarawak – and the rest of the country – can never be the same again.

The Malaysian resistance

These are “artistic impressions” of thoughts circumambulating the increasingly controversial Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
project. I chose to say “increasingly controversial” because we all know we need this infrastructure and thus any opposition to it appears to reject a very public need.

 

 

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