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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Religious leaders rebuke Najib for lack of understanding, compassion to Bersih

Sulaiman Kamal | 1:43 PM | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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An interfaith group has rebuked the Najib administration for not dealing with the high-profile Bersih 2.0 rally with "understanding, compassion, honesty and respect", adding that if it had done do, the "untoward events" could have been prevented.

The unprecedented police crackdowns on the July 9 rally for free and fair elections have resulted in one death and thousands injured.
In response to a call from the King, rally organisers had agreed to shift the street demonstration to the stadium, but at the eleventh hour, Prime Minister Najib Razak reneged on his word to give them access to any stadium of their choice.
One way street
The Najib administration has been reluctant to allow the Bersih rally to take place at all as it fears it might spark a wave of social reform consciousness amongst the populace. It fears this might give the Pakatan Rakyat led by Anwar Ibrahim the upperhand in the next general election.
Additionally, it has refused to carry out any of the 8 electoral demands Bersih had drawn up on behalf of citizens. Bersih is a group of 62 top NGOs.
"The most important lesson to be learnt from the 9th July 2011 event is that the authorities must transform their mindset and recognise that Malaysians today are much more learned, informed, matured and sophisticated beings than they are made out to be," The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said in a statement out on Tuesday.
"MCCBCHST is confident that the untoward events of 9th July 2011 could have been prevented if the authorities had dealt with the issues raised by Bersih from the outset at the negotiation table with Understanding, Compassion, Honesty and Respecf as required in all our great religious teachings."
The religious leaders also urged the Najib administration to recognise the citizens' right to peaceful assembly.
"MCCBCHST re-iterates its strong support for every Malaysian's right to peaceful assembly as enshrined in our Federal Constitution under Article 10 (1) (b) and in
Article 20 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and remind the authorities that freedom of opinion and expression too is provided for under Article 19 of the UDHR," the interfaith group said.
In denial mood
The Najib administration has been condemned far and wide for the ordering police brutality against the civilian marchers. It was also accused of being "runing scared" in having to clean the electoral system, which is currently badly skewed in its favour.
But rather than admit its mistakes, Najib has defended the police and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has threatened a further crackdown on the media, including the foreign media for painting a bad picture of their government.
This despite the availability of thousands of visuals, images and video broadcast on international channels and You Tube.
Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai even went so far as to scold reporters for showing him video and pictorial proof that the police had fired tear gas into the Tung Shin hospital. Liow insisted that they accepted his 'word' that the police had not been excessive in their roughness.
Meanwhile, human rights think-tank Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia or Proham has called on the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry or a Parliamentary Select Committe to look into the election grouses raised by Bersih.
"The core matter of the Bersih rally must be addressed namely to address the concerns in the election system and the call for a free and fair election. Proham calls
for the government to establish an independent mechanism to review these concerns either through a Royal Commission or a Parliamentary Select Committee," Proham had said in a state
ment.

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