|TheStar 15th Sept 2011|
This included a virtual lock-down of K.L city prior to the rally, the arrests of people for just wearing yellow coloured Bersih 2 T-shirts and threats of further arrests for rally participants.
On the day of the rally itself, the police's heavy handed response against peaceful rally participants, including the firing of tear gas and water bombing and mass arrests of some 1400 participants, further added to the people's unhappiness against the authorities.
The police were even alleged to have water-bombed and fired tear gas into the compounds of Thung Shin Maternity hospital where some of the rally participants were forced to retreat.
Now, some two months later, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has attempted to justify the government's heavy handed response by alleging that some people had exploited the government initial "soft" approach.
In a TheStar report today, he was quoted to have said: "We did not want to take the risk of the whole scenario changing and becoming racial and religious".
He was also quoted to have said that the authorities had been accommodating with the organisers as the latter had said the planned rally would not be political but things started to change later.
Just because the opposition coalition had said that they supported the rally for clean and fair elections did not mean that the rally was a political one. In fact, the organisers had only planned for a short rally to hand over a memorandum to the King asking for clean and fair elections. And if the authorities had just allowed it without being so heavy handed about the whole thing, it would have had come and gone without much ado.
Nobody was trying to turn the rally into a racial or religious one. The only threat came from Ibrahim Ali, the president of Perkasa, a right wing Malay NGO who had told the Chinese to stock up on food and not take part in the rally.
However, everybody knows who Ibrahim Ali is. And it is telling that no action at all has so far been taken against him for what many consider to be seditious remarks.
In fact, the rally was attended by all races and very much a peaceful and orderly one except for the heavy handed response of the authorities.
As a full fledged minister and one responsible for home security, Hishammuddin should just accept some responsibility for the poor and unneccessary heavy handed reaction to the rally and the rally participants.
He should just stop hisapputing ( Malay for suck on the teat, a play on Hishammuddin's name as many a netizens have called him) instead of trying to put a spin on the whole thing.