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Date [ 2013-05-13, 10:35 ]


A backwash rises against the election results.

(Kuala Lumpur =Koreanpress) by Ramani Rathir =Wednesday, May 8th. 6 pm. the heavens opened, slightly at first but later it rained and the umbrellas had to come out. But that did not stop thousands from making their way to the Bukit Jalil Stadium. Their purpose? To hear Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim protest against the validity of the GE13 results.


Motorists were stuck in a massive jam along the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong, the queue rising to thousands of cars. ABN News broadcast journalist,  Izzatie Rizan left her office in Puchong early at 6.30pm. But obviously this was not early enough, for she was still stuck at the toll near Sunway Pyramid around 10.30pm. Her story filed for the day was not on the rally but on the traffic jam. She never made it to the rally.


The more wise took the LRT to alight at the Kelana Jaya station and walk up to the stadium. Others parked their cars in nearby housing estates to make their way  to the stadium, while still some others walked several kilometers to get to the rally.


The police had declared the rally was illegal as organisers had not made the required 10 days' notice. Later they said the public could attend but would arrest anyone making seditious speeches.
But at the rally, they seemed to have backed off and a carnival mood soon descended on the crowd. Opposition party flags were floating in the night air and vuvuzela horns blared loudly.

By the time the fiery orations began, the crowd had swelled to over 50,000, spilling onto the football pitch itself, the car parks and even the roads outside the stadium. The majority, heeding Anwar’s call wore black. They were there to protest the allegations of the indelible ink being easily washed off and thus allowing for multiple voting. The presence of suspected foreign "voters." (Scenes of angry citizens confronting these ‘voters,’ and in some cases even assaulting them at polling centres had gone viral). Anwar had alleged BN had plans to fly tens of thousands of "dubious" and possibly foreign voters to flood key constituencies, mainly in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. There were also cases of phantom voters.


The government has denied all these accusations outright, but an independent report stated otherwise. The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs and Centre for Public Policy Studies voiced on the partisan use of government machinery, pro-government media bias and doubts over the legality of voter rolls. The report concluded the elections were "only partially free and not fair." It more or less indicated there were serious flaws in the electoral system.

In addition to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, there was DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan and National Laureate Datuk A. Said Samad at the rally. The lady did not give a speech but had the crowd rallying to the call of, “Long live Bersih. Long live the rakyat. We will clean up!”  The poet on the other hand showed the power of the pen by reciting his poem entitled “Tipu segala tipu” (The lie of all lies). This drew cries of “Ubah!” (Change) from the crowd. There were also cries of, “Tipu SPR!” (SPR are liars), referring to the Election Commission (EC) by its Malay acronym` and which left in no doubt the mood of the gathering.

The arrival of Anwar after 10pm on a scooter was the signal for a swelling  of roars that echoed the words "Kami Anak Malaysia" The PKR de facto leader began by declaring, “This is the beginning of a battle between the rakyat and an illegitimate, corrupt, and arrogant government."

All is not well with the elections may be deduced from the messages sent by both the United States and European Union. While they congratulated Najib on winning, there was a codicil that urged him to address the allegations of irregularities. Transparency International issued a statement that the voting results showed electoral reforms were indeed urgently required. Joshua Kurlantzick, a Southeast Asia Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, clearly stated, "Anger is going to simmer for weeks or months, and is already growing fiercer on Malaysia's free online media.” No less a person than Kofi Annan commented, “For what we have learnt from elections around the world - and is clearly understood in Malaysia itself - is that free, fair and credible elections are vital if they are to deliver the full benefits citizens want to see.”

This feeling of wanting a fair and just government has cut across the board. Otherwise would a group of over 200 Malaysians gather at the Merlion Park in Singapore to protest against what they felt were the rigged elections of GE13, Even they too were dressed mostly in black and holding placards that read, "We Want Bersih (clean)" and "No To Racism". One, translated from Mandarin read: "We Are One Family". It was a peaceful crowd that occasionally broke into chants.



Perhaps what is significant but largely went unnoticed, was that some of the protests began immediately after the elections results were out, i.e. On May 6th itself. Anwar’s rally was two days later on May 8th. On that Monday, from 3pm till 6pm, Malaysians from all walks of life, regardless of age, race or gender, put on black clothing, plastered their mouths with masking tapes and walked through almost every mall in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur (Mid Valley, The Gardens) and Penang (Queensbay Mall) led in this. Called ‘The Silent Walk’ it was a peaceful and silent protest over the alleged rigged election results.


The success of the rally hale by Parkatan Rakyat, which at last count has been estimated to have reached 69,000, has spurred Anwar Ibrahim to hold more rallies back-to-back, the next at Ipoh and another in Penang by the end of this week. He promised that he,” … would not quit until we reach Putrajaya, until we expose all and claim Putrajaya for the rakyat. They deserved it as we, Pakatan, won the popular vote,” he told Malaysiakini.

When all is said and done, probably Man Hui Meng, a university student, echoes the general feeling of the proletariat, “I strongly feel a re-election should be called for.” abc@koreanpress.net

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