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Bersih 3.0 was announced by Ambiga in a reaction to a Parliamentary Select Committee poor and shoddy work that whitewashed the electoral reform demands of Bersih 2.0. Although 22 recommendations were made, no urgency was placed and neither a timeframe to execute. Lots of studies recommended and probably more reports to be made out of these studies and GE13 will be long over when these make their rounds.
To be clear, Bersih 3.0 is not a rally but a sit-in. It is themed as "Duduk Bantah" or sit-in protest and is scheduled to be held on Saturday 28 April. The primary location is Dataran Merdeka but will be simultaneously held in multiple locations across the country and overseas.
Nazri already came out saying that Dataran Merdeka is not considered an acceptable location under the newly passed Assembly Act 2011. The Government will be planning all their options to stop Bersih 3.0.
Will they do a crackdown before 28 April on people wearing yellow again? By the way, the declaration by Hishamuddin on yellow tshirts to be illegal has not been rescinded but was that declaration legal in the first place?
Will they lockdown Kuala Lumpur again? What options does the Government have? What options does Najib have?
For sure, Najib does not want to have a repeat of the international backlash which resulted from poor advice given to him. It is very bad publicity for his preparation of the impending GE.
But if he does not do anything to stop this sit-in protest, he could be cowed by a possible humongous hoard of Malaysians who will make their presence and demands felt around Malaysia and around the world.
What if Najib plays the statesman and accepts graciously the demands of Bersih 3.0 and tell them to behave and do it peacefully? He may not agree to true electoral reforms as demanded by Bersih but he can play his good guy role with a pretentious listening ear to Bersih and pay lip service to it.
With this, he can get positive mileage, sounding sincere as he has always portrayed himself, and put another committee together to work on the demands which will never see daylight this time. After the PSC, he can recommend a Royal Inquiry that will take another 6 months by which the next general election will have been conducted.
If Nazri condemns the Bersih sit-in at Dataran Merdeka and Hishamuddin brings out the riot police in full force again, it will definitely be a slap in their own faces as the founding fathers led by Tunku Abdul Rahman led the MERDEKA cheer at the same place. Were they illegal too?
We will see parallel pictures to the Merdeka scene compared with Bersih 3.0 for a long time to come. Surely, this time on 28 April it will be history in the making.
What harm can it do to Najib if he allows this event to take place? Especially this time round, he will have little to no options to stop it nationwide. Another brutal clamp down will permanently damage his Government's public perception which is very low now.
If Bersih 2.0 with all the lockdown brought out 25,000 Malaysians, how many more will show up to support this time without a forceful reprise by the Home Minister? 100,000? It is not too far fetched. This can be a watershed gauge for Najib. If Malaysians come out in full force, he knows his popularity and chances of winning the next election will be slim. If few people show up, then he knows he can call for GE13 virtually immediately.
Rain or shine, many Malaysians are now preparing to be there come 28 April. Many trouble makers are also plotting as well. So is the Government. This date will go down in history as a major milestone of people's power or as a squeaking pooh pooh of an inconsequential bleep on Najib's radar.
Bersih 3.0 is not challenging anyone to a fight. It is a show of Malaysian voices for an urgent electoral reform before the next General Election which the Government appears to want to conduct before any meaningful reforms can be seriously implemented. Malaysians want a free and fair election, and it would mean as free and as fair as Malaysians can have it at this time.
No matter what happens, all Malaysians must vote come GE13. That is your right as a citizen and nobody can take that away from you! Make it count!