A series of massive public rallies that were abruptly stopped by the police and FRU for not having police permits had gravely dented Pat Lah's image as a PM who wants the rakyat to work with him rather than work for him.
A rally was organized by a group of lawyers and NGOs proceeding with a march to mark International Human Rights Day on Sunday. However, in one swift move police had arrested eight people, including five lawyers. The arrests came after a failed attempt by the organizers of the march to negotiate with the police to allow them to finish their march at their intended spot.
Bersih's rally for a fair and clean election was held last month.Bersih felt that the Election Commission is bias and used unfair tactics to manipulate the electoral roll, allow double voting, encouraged money politics,gerrymandering,the use of postal votes, mass media control and others, that allowed the gomen to win in every election since merdeka.
The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) had their rally two weeks ago and was to deliver a petition to the British High Commission. Earlier Hindraf, had filed a US$4 trillion lawsuit in the UK against the British government for bringing Indians to Malaysia as apprenticed labourers and "exploiting" them during the colonial days. The suit sought a declaration that the rights of the Indian community were ignored when Malaya gained independence in 1957, resulting in what they claimed to be discriminate and marginalized to this day.
In another related move Tian Chua a PKR stalwart was arrested outside human rights organization Suaram’s office in Johor Baru by a police team from Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile a PAS Vice President, Mohd.Sabu was detained at his daughter wedding ceremony. The past weeks also saw many opposition members and Hindraf followers were arrested and charged in court.
Bersih wants the government to withdraw the Constitutional Amendment Bill scheduled to be tabled on that day which, if passed, will see the Abdul Rashid,the current EC chairman’s tenure being extended by a year, to the new age limit of 66. This act of scourge and suppression is solely seemed to deter Bersih's next planned rally - at Parliament house this Tuesday.
Whats more disturbing is that police have used excessive force in all the rallies. The actions of the police reinforced the popular view that the police, like other institutions of the gomen, are not neutral. Instead of being the protector of the ordinary rakyat, the police, now, appear to be serving the people in power.
The gomen has downplayed these issues, by putting the blame on the opposition for all the mishaps instead. The gomen has even gone to the extension of telling Malaysians that foreign terrorist groups were involved in these rallies. Mahathir used similar tactics by arresting key opposition leaders under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the shutting down of newspapers deemed to be unfriendly to the gomen. This time around Pat Lah has threatened to do the same.
The rallies of recent weeks, coupled with the Lingam video tape crisis,Zaki Tun Azmi's ascension to the Federal court, the ever increasing corruption issues facing the gomen has force the gomen to delay the widely expected general election further.
How fair and democratic can our election be when the EC chairman, Abdul Rashid had openly admitted by saying,” A lot of people are anxious to determine the type of regime that is going to handle Malaysia in the coming years. They are always talking about regimes. I never talk about regimes. There is only one regime in this country that is capable of running (the country)”
Pat Lah must be a very happy man with Rashid's confession and see no reason why his tenure should not to be extended. This little bit of admission by Rashid too, demonstrates what the oppositions has being saying all along that the EC is not an independent body as it seems to be. Sure enough the gomen and EC are more like "merpati dua sejoli".....
Meanwhile, are events in the past weeks be construed as Pat Lah's spring-cleaning act and probably be seen as a prelude to the coming general election? Judge for yourself............