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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Umno fears most: Bersih 2.0 is spreading into the Malay heartland

Sulaiman Kamal | 1:35 PM | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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What UMNO has been dreading is starting to happen - Bersih 2.0 is starting to spread and into the hard-to-penetrate Malay middle ground.
Something that pundits say the UMNO top leadership should take close note of, even as Prime Minister Najib Razak and his cousin Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein try to damage control the fiasco they created due to mishandling and disconnect with the rest of the nation.

Not only did the Najib administration fail to stop the wave of social reform consciousness, Bersih 2.0 now looks like being a full-fledged contagion thanks to the cousins' high-profile and controversial handling of the matter.
Those who came to attend the rally have gone home and exactly like their counterparts in cyberspace, they cannot get enough of recounting their July 9 experiences to their family, friends and village mates.
As PAS president Hadi Awang has warned, Bersih 2.0 is just the beginning. More and larger protests will sweep the country if Najib and UMNO continue to sit their ivory and ignore the discontent amonst the people.
"This is just a preamble to the people’s uprising and if they are not prepared to make any reforms to the election system and democracy, bigger uprising will happen anytime, and it is not necessarily before election, but can be also after election," warned Hadi.
Hero's welcome
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu - the two men that police singled out during their attacks on the rally supporters - were given a rousing welcome in Seberang Jaya in Penang on Monday night.
And there was nothing Penang UMNO could do to stop the 5,000-strong Malay crowd from giving the Pakatan leaders a hero's welcome. Both men spoke about their Bersih experiences and condemned Najib and the police for the unprecedented crackdown that has caused one death and left thousands injured.
"I am forced to wear this neck brace. It was the doctor's orders after he saw how bad the injury was to my neck and back. I did not ask for it. Najib would even like everyone to think that I had purposely gone for a slipped disc surgery in Munich so that I can come home and show the people," Malaysiakini reported Anwar as saying.
The 64-year old Anwar had come wearing a neck brace while Mat Sabu was in a wheelchair. In separate incidents, they had been targeted by the police. PAS president Hadi was luckier as he was also part of the Anwar group leaving the KL Sentral for Stadium Merdeka. But he managed to escape the tear gas attack although he was arrested and detained late into the night.
Anwar, who hit his head on the road, after police fired a tear gas canister directly at him had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. His bodyguard was seriously injured with a fractured cheekbone and a deep facial gash.
Mat Sabu, who was leading another group of Bersih supporters, was reaching the Masjid Negara gathering point when a police van suddenly intercepted him and rammed into his motorbike. Sabu, who was riding pillion, was thrown off rolling several feet on the ground. He is due for further surgery this Friday.
"Najib lies! Najib lies! Najib lies," Mat Sabu told the crowd, urging the police to be neutral in their work and not blindly follow orders given by UMNO.
"If tomorrow BN is gone, you will still be around. But if you protect Umno, if they fall, you will fall also."
IGP and deputy must face tribunal
Meanwhile, Pakatan leaders want both the Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar and his deputy Khalid Abdu Bakar to quit, be sacked, or face a tribunal.
“With so many images and video clips shown, the devious statement from the IGP and his deputy alleging that the police were assaulted and provoked forcing them to act only serves to expose their own lies," said PAS information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man in a statement today.

"PAS strongly condemns the police’s barbaric actions which also caused the death of Baharudin Ahmad and injured dozens of people. Hundreds had been kicked, beaten and dragged into trucks, showing a very disgusting side of the security personnel.”

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