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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Who's gone overboard?

The Dato' Seri is pushing for punitive action against the few Bersih leaders who tore up pictures of Election Commission chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

“We should take action if there are laws that provide for punishment for such an action," said PM Abdullah.

"They’re rude and disrespectful. There are other ways to air their disapproval."

Aiyo, this PM ah.

In the course of his four-year term, thousands of memos have been written addressed to the PM and his working Cabinet. People thought he was serious lah. After all, his sales promo four years ago was "Work with me. Not for me." The courtesy of a reply? Heehaw.

What does this say about the boss? Basically this - he doesn't think you're worth it. Instead he goes around tooting Pemudah, Pemudah, Pemudah. Pemudah will solve our woes. That and a certain Hadhari deal. And errr, by the way: “I have big ears.”

Well, Pemudah ain't working; it's just as complicated getting a licence for anything this side of Planet Bolehwood. And Big Ears is all waxed up.

But never mind. The people will try communicating via other means. There's always the Parliament route, a once-noble institution. Except that just about everytime something of national interest is brought up for debate by the tiny opposition, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker declares: “Not urgent. Motion denied.” Not that Cabinet Ministers and their underlings even care to show up most times. But of course Kinabatangan, Jerai and Jasin are always present in case of fire.

And when backed into a situation, there's always the Official Secrets Act.

Now, failing to get any proper response from those responsible, some folks decide to take their message to the streets. They follow protocol. They apply for police permits. Each time, such permits are denied.

“National security lah. You'll cause bad business, disturb the peace, create traffic jams etc.” Or even worse: “You applied for permit? Where? We have no record.”

And when the rallies take place anyway, tears gas is fired like it was Hari Merdeka, water cannons sprayed. Dozens are arrested; some even with the curious charge of attempted murder dangling over their heads. And next day, the MSM will say: Only 4,000 showed up. And that man Nazri will say: They're the minority. We don't listen to the minority.

Lately, the police have even begun using court orders to keep people away from certain planned events. Then they arrest you even though you are outside the restricted area. Minum teh also kena. Tsk tsk tsk.

Naturally, all this is drawing international attention. Aisey, bad for business; must do something.

In trying to save face, this PM pens an Op-ed in the Asian Wall Street Journal in December last year saying citizens needn't take to the streets.

Dato' Seri wrote: “In the case of two recent demonstrations, the Malaysian police had offered the chance for the organizers to hold their protests in stadiums or other alternative venues. Instead, they chose to take to the streets, disrupting people’s lives and putting themselves and others in harm’s way.”

Oh really ah? Never mind that no such offer was ever made then – PM dan polis mudah lupa – but since this PM now writes to the freeworld telling them stadiums can be used, of course the people won't turn down such an invitation no?

So Bersih tries to get a stadium for a February event. Guess what – go fly a kite was the essential response.

So, Big Ears, how lah?

We write memos, you senyap. We take it to Parliament, you kasi sapu under the carpet. We apply a permit for rally, you deny. People go for the rally, you arrest them. Then you lie to the international audience.

And now when your key ampu's picture gets torn up, you muram.

"There are other ways to air their disapproval".... Like how? Take it to RTM?

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