Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Old Wives' Tales - When JASA Stings BERSIH

Another issue has been resurrected which elicited another BERSIH protest.

Protest from BERSIH by it's steering committee member, Maria Chin Abdullah, and co-chairman, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, with cries of “dishonesty and recklessness”.

The Malaysia Insider reports in "JASA’s booklet dishonest propaganda, Bersih says" where both the grand old ladies of BERSIH had their nest stirred by a booklet, quoting Chinese-language daily Sin Chew, purportedly been printed by JASA.

Since the issue is about honesty, examine what the two main characters are saying, as reported by TMI.

Quote Maria Chin,
“The report was issued last year — just after Bersih 3.0. It is obvious that such propaganda has not any effect on Malaysians as 112 happened,” she said, referring to the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (People’s Uprising Rally), or 112 rally, which went on peacefully here on January 12.
Let's leave the Sabah RCI aside because the subject matter is the JASA booklet and in that respect Madam Ambiga could only offer,
"She (Ambiga) also weighed in on the “wild” claim in the booklet where it was reportedly stated that some rally participants had purportedly admitted that they were paid RM100 each to show up and provided with three days’ food and accommodation"
I will do Ambiga a favour and save some money for those interested in buying the booklet by providing the e-book version in PDF form here.

From the e-book (page 197) which dedicates a total of 11 pages on the subject of BERSIH 3.0, there is nothing that can be construed to be "dishonest". Most of what JASA states can be corroborated by reports online in the alternative and main stream media.

So let's be honest here.

This is what was reported by alternative media, Free Malaysia Today, when violence broke out and blame was placed squarely on opposition designated prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, for allegedly inciting the protesters to storm Dataran Merdeka and what Ambiga and Maria had to say about Anwar's involvement,
“We did not know that they [opposition] leaders were going to speak. Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim came up and spoke to the crowd.

She added that the plan for the gathering did not allow for politicians to speak.

In fact, she said that had Bersih known that politicians were going to deliver speeches, it would not allow them to do so.

“We wouldn’t have allowed them to speak,” she told a press conference today

Bersih steering committee member, Maria Chin Abdullah, who also present, said the event was to feature only speeches from Ambiga, co-chairman A Samad Said and songs.

“Before April 28, all the NGOs agreed to exclude any political speeches by political leaders… that was also agreed upon by the political parties,” she said
Whether you believe Ambiga and Maria in part or whole, the net meaning of their statements remains the same - after Anwar spoke violence erupted.

For good measure, Wall Street Journal also questioned Anwar Ibrahim's role in the violence and quoted Bridget Welsh,
“The minute [Mr.] Najib called the police the ‘victims,’ it was the nail in the coffin of his ability to call himself a reformer,” Ms. Welsh said. “But [opposition] tactics make you wonder how much you can trust them as well.”
The WSJ included in its report "multiple videos, hand signals by Anwar Ibrahim, posted on YouTube show opposition leaders signaling hand gestures that could be read as calls to break the barricades".

Anwar hand signals for the benefit of the deaf and dumb opposition and BERSIH supporters.

11 pages and all Ambiga can muster is to "fault" the finding by JASA, as a "wild" claim, that PAS paid for those to participate in the BERSIH 3.0 protest.

Ambiga could only furnish, not deny outright, her single "wild" assertion.

As for Maria Chin Abdullah, do not hide what is a known fact - rallies can be peaceful and violence prevented but only when no opposition leaders incite a crowd, especially the master, Anwar Ibrahim. And KL 112 was held in a stadium.

In case Maria Chin is suffering from the onset of Alzheimers, she needs to be reminded BERSIH 3.0 had been insistent on Dataran Merdeka from day 1 and rejected stadiums as alternative venues, which could have prevented the very reason BERSIH 3.0 has become infamous and equally culpable for - a violent protest.

In the matter of this latest ressurrection, if you listen to Ambiga and Maria Chin Abdullah, it's akin to listening to old wives' tales.

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