Seven things we learned from Bersih 4

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1. A mammoth rally can take place peacefully with minimal police presence if the objectives are noble. Malaysians are not naturally prone to violence and illwill if they are not instigated by hate speech.

2. The struggle for electoral reforms, clean government and justice is underpinned by a deep love and concern for the nation and the wellbeing of it people, as seen in the way the Negaraku was sung with such fervour at the stroke of midnight.

3. Mahathir is using Bersih for his goal of removing Najib, but Bersih can make use of Mahathir to make the message of the importance of electoral and other reforms more acceptable to a wider audience.

4. The Najib administration, if it does not understand basic democratic norms, at least understands that good public relations demands that you do not crack down on a massive peaceful rally in front of a global media audience. It would only make his poor image look even worse. Yes, it was all about public relations, especially given the news that seven Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee members have been summoned by police for questioning this morning as well as another five Bersih 4 organising members in Kota Kinabalu.

5. Malaysians are a creative lot, going by the many witty placards and comments and performances during the rally. The random displays of creativity along the streets kept everyone thoroughly absorbed during the event when they were taking a break from chanting “Bersih! Bersih!”

6. More must be done to reach out to those who did not turn up for Bersih 4 and show them how clean governance and accountability can actually improve their lot. Bersih 4 shows us that we have to re-strategise to raise wider awareness of the issues that matter and show how improvements and reforms can translate to a higher quality of life. Though social media played an amazing role in mobilising people for the rally despite the blocking of the Bersih website, more awareness raising must be done in Malay over social media to reach a wider audience.

READ MORE:  Welcome back, Maria Chin; now everyone can be an activist!

7. We have a vibrant civil society movement in Malaysia and the spirit of volunteerism is well and truly alive. I was amazed by the civic conciousness on display, especially among the young people – from those picking up litter from the streets, to the medic teams on standby including the St John’s Ambulance, to the volunteers who notified participants about the portaloos at St John’s and the rest facilities there, to those putting up placards pleading with participants not to blow their vuvuzelas and drown out the speeches, to the volunteer lawyers from the Bar Council and the Suhakam people monitoring the event. And of course the whole Bersih team across the country for their tireless work and preparations.

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63 COMMENTS

  1. What I learnt post Bersih is you should wear a mask if you wish to stamp your feet on the pictures of Najib hugging Hadi.

  2. The hinderances and threats were against the rights to communicate online, criticise and protest various issues, especially elections. The critics were harrassed while seditious NGOs got kid-gloves treatment. The media obediently published half-truths. Public employees and scholarship holders were threatened. The suburban road blocks and urban barriers created jams and loss of business. Once again, provocateurs tried to crash the barriers on cue. Firecrackers and poisoned drinks also occurred. There were a few arrests, and there are threats of more. The mantra is nation=government=party=race=religion. There seems to be great fear of racism becoming irrelevant.

    • DPM okayed UMNO members to participate in red shirt rally – which means UMNO supported red shirt rally. Hypocrite indeed! Typical UMNO says one thing and does another? Thats the reason why UMNO will not survive. This party will see its demise soon.

  3. Did God hear you ?. NO, So no more gods, deities, prophets, saints give a hue. Ting, tung tiang space station also NO problem

    • Why have to go to mt everest? Mt kinabalu good enough. The world at the international anti graft in kl SEE, HEAR and ADVISE Pm. Even MP who received 1M ringgit is silent now but here are still … barking …. No doubt, wants more $£¢€¥.

  4. From the negara photo of which are the MAIN gathering, you could easily count that it is only about 50k plus. With those from surroundING areas who are sparsely populated it would be about or slightly more than 100k. These Bersih leaders are just blowing horn of 200k, 300k or 500k. They are just using add on like some one commented.

    Read this for many know not what they are doing.

    Below is one revelation. Have any seen the news last night of how a former M collude with SR owner Claire with false information to bring down a PM
    http://www.malaysiandigest.com/frontpage/29-4-tile/562445-lester-s-expose-cops-not-ruling-out-detaining-individuals-involved.html

    MACC investigating DEIG over zakat payment
    http://www.malaysia-today.net/macc-investigating-deig-over-zakat-payment/

  5. MCA’s Liow was quick to jump on the picture stomping issue, he did not “utter a single word” when a group of anti-Bersih protesters poured red paint on Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah’s effigy. By doing so, he is abetting Umno to turn Bersih 4 into a racial issue and to divert the attention of the focus of the rally.

    • Honestly, there is no longer a purpose for MCA’s existence. It started with the objective to represent Chinese interests. That’s no longer true. Today, MCA, is just nothing more than a trophy for UMNO to claim that Chinese interests are represented in BN. Even then, UMNO also realise that purpose is not served and there are talks to reclaim seats in Malay majority areas for UMNO members. MCA can’t win seats in Chinese areas. Apart from all that, these BN politicians are oblivious to the fundamental change that Malaysians now truly want a united Bangsa Malaysia.

  6. Bersih that came after the 10th November 2007 Bersih was not a political movement. It was neither pro-government nor pro-opposition. It was a reform movement, first for electoral reforms and then for political reforms.

    The THIRD thing that I learn is that Bersih has now been HIJACKED by the opposition and opposition political parties for their own political selfish end.

    At one stage some PKR members even called for the release of Anwar when he has been jailed fair and square by the court.

    On another note with regards to the first reason, although they may not have condone the former PM 22 years of corruption, cronyism and check and balance of the judiciary and institution, the FACT that they supported and applaused him during Bersih meant that they are NOT FIT to criticize Najib on any wrong doing.

    They should instead be supporting Najib just like they have been supporting the former PM, M as both have commited the same act otherwise these Bersih leaders and supporters are just HYPOCRITES.

    • Why should we support a corrupted PM who dare not face the people at IACC?

      He cannot convince rakyat in the RM2.6 billion issue that claimed to be donation. Even kids know he is lying.

      • Why didn`t you say, Why should Bersih supported a Mr. … PM (whose administration) was the most corruptaible for 22 years. Ain`t you hypocrite

    • There is nothing fair about the conviction of Anwar whether in his treatment by the authorities, the court process or the punishment meted out. The protest against Anwar’s conviction and jailing is, in a larger picture, a protest against miscarriage of justice, persecution and power abuse.

  7. What we learnt fom Tun M at Bersih 4.0:

    Tun Dr M told us that accepting bribe is like selling your soul!

    Tun M dedah UMNO dapat RM1.4 billion Harta & wang tunai. DUIT dari mana

    Tun M dedah Najib rasuah RM2 67 billion dari1 MDB!

  8. One more thing we learned from Bersih 4.0:
    When our bodies are tired & aching from sleeping on tar roads,
    our feet blistered from walking kilometres,
    our throats dry & sore from marathon singing,
    our stomachs hungry from skipping home-cooked meals,
    our brains yearning for loved ones besides us,
    yet our hearts burn in unison with ONE Passion for Malaysia Bersih.
    We can still sing Negara Ku With Passion even the heavens take notice & migrating birds stop in their flight path.

    “Hello, ISS (International Space Station). Did you hear Negara Ku? Over.”

  9. Anil,
    Correct, correct, correct………everyone was welcome except that Yang didn’t turn up due to yellow fever. Hahaha

    • Sure everyone was welcome to turn up, Tom, Dick & Harry, thiefs, Mr. 10%, the 2 million dollars to Australia guy and not forgetting the most corruptible PM in Malaysia history

      • You are not welcomed to Bersih!!!
        Go ask your ex-boss for compassionate-based permission!

  10. We other things we found out:

    1. The Malaysian population ratio is approximately 65:25:10 Malays, Chinese, Indian and others. The turnout is 15:75:10. If you look at the overseas protests, it is probably 2:90:8 ratio of Malays, Chinese and Indian/others.
    2. BERSIH has now managed to scare the Malays away from supporting the opposition. In fact, it has drawn them closer to BN.
    3. The donation is no big issue to UMNO supporters as it has been explained to and accepted by them. It is for the future of their children and grandchildren.

    If we have an election now, BN will have a landslide victory. we are just playing into the politicians hands.

    • Agreed with you but many would be in a state of denial. Frankly they do not have to rely on Chinese vote. I have also said many times Umno loss will be Pas gain. GHB and PKR only rely on Chinese votes and can survive only in mixed seats. With Pas foray into these areas you bet Malay will either go to Umno or Pas and poochit Ghb, Pkr and Dap. Dap will still win in Chinese majorities seat but they may face a tough fight in mixed areas.

      That is the reason Anwar is still saying that Pakatan Rakyat is still intact. He knows the consequence and that they still need PaS

      • Mca, mic and Gelakan can close shop and quit BN since they cant rely on non malays votes. Base on above, umno can give them a damn. Shameless to hang on to umno’s sarong and survive on its generosity.

      • The grand plan, since 30 or 40 years ago is to (allegedly) remove the Chinese from the country. I don’t think this is going to stop anytime soon. The Government is looking at it happily with the falling percentage of Chinese. I don’t think Government cares if we migrate to Singapore or UK or Australia. This means that Chinese votes are insignificant now. Opposition may win in large cities with large Chinese population but that’s it
        The key now is the Malay votes. It is now between PAS and UMNO. With PAS fractured into GHB and others, it is weak. PAS cannot go for the Federal government alone, so does DAP.

      • Real pea head and dunggu. Why make a big fuss and racialise about Chinese in bersih since they are insignificant? Writing nuts.and kachang putih.

    • True, according to loh, we should all sit at home and makan karipup, and wait for all the evil politicians to drop dead one by one !!!

  11. Opposition and Bersih in the past have commented on some NGO for being uncultured and acting like barbarian when they commit action like dancing in the asking them to apologize. Now the Bersih head said it’s not them doing the stomping of the leader picture and such will not apologize.

    The second thing I learned is are they also not uncultured and barbaric

  12. YB Liew Chin Tong wrote about his experience with Bersih 4.0:

    At least 1% of the population attended BERSIH 4.
    The mainstream media is burdened with the discussion about the racial composition of BERSIH 4 to a nauseating level. I hope to provide some other perspectives.
    I have attended most of the mass rallies in this country since 20th September 1998 -the day Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was arrested.
    I recall that after every rally (except the 9th July 2011 BERSIH 2 rally, when ethnic Chinese participation was reasonably high) the question always asked was, “why so few Chinese?”
    I headed the secretariat for the first BERSIH rally on 10th November 2007. Almost everyone I knew then complained to me about the lack of ethnic Chinese participation, as if the Secretariat had committed a great sin for organising a rally without notifying the ethnic Chinese to come.
    And there will be countless intelligent and non-intelligent guesses to explain it away, such as “Chinese are culturally and inherently afraid of chaos”, “Chinese are selfish people not prepared to sacrifice for the larger good”, “Chinese fear the recurrence of the May 13 incident”, etc.
    So it is amusing now, to read about the theories behind the lack of Malay participation and its grave consequence.
    For those such as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is foolish enough to argue that non-participation at the rally means support for the Najib Government, they just have to look at the results of the 2008 general election.
    Ethnic Chinese turnout at the rally in November 2007 was negligible, but the anger against the Barisan Nasional Government simmered quietly away until they were at the polling booth four months later.
    In fact, the participation of every citizen is an invaluable contribution to the nation and should be celebrated.
    During BERSIH 4, I entered the crowd thrice with Lim Kit Siang, early evening and 11.30pm on the first day, as well as in the evening of the second day.
    In order to see for myself the faces of participations and to listen to their stories, I also walked on my own from Dataran Merdeka along Jalan Tun Perak to the junction at Jalan Tun HS Lee on three occasions during the two-day rally.
    Others put a higher figure but I am quite sure that not many, apart from Najib and the Police, would dispute that at least 300,000 unique visitors attended the rally at some point during those two days.
    In other words, even by the most conservative estimation of mine, 1% of Malaysians (out of a population of 30 million) attended the rally. It is definitely the largest ever rally in our nation’s history.
    These brave Malaysians came out in defiance of the risks and threats of a crackdown and clampdown.
    Of course there were “kaki demo” who might have participated in rallies since time immemorial. But the sheer size of the turnout also means that many first timers were in the crowd.
    Even to “regular” rally goers, a 34-hour rally which involves sleeping in the street is something unprecedented and requires huge psychological commitment.
    Friends joked that ethnic Chinese participants must have thrown their cultural taboos away to sleep on the streets in the 7th month of the Lunar calendar (known as the ghost month), something quite unthinkable for many.
    For most participants, there must have been a struggle from within to decide whether or not to go. I knew of CEOs, academics, and community leaders who took pains to decide to be at Dataran because they wanted to “do something” for the nation.
    For everyone who made it to the rally, there were many more who did not go either out of fear or due to work commitment or other reasons.
    A few Buddhist monks and nuns told me they wished to be there but they didn’t like to be the subject of media attention. For those from outstation, cost of travelling alone is a significant concern to the lower to middle income groups.
    Each and everyone come with some struggle inside, and with a story of his or her own. They threw caution to the wind for those few hours in the hope that their presence could change the course of the nation for the better.
    Many have not sang Negaraku with such zeal and passion for a long time.
    When this 1% of the population return home to their workplaces or schools, their stories are bound to have an impact on many more within their circle of influence.
    One can expect that now, this 1% of the population are politically awakened and inspired.
    After all, they went to the largest pilgrimage for democracy in our history.
    They will now question the institutions, the media, the political parties and generally the status quo. They will not take things for granted any more.
    There is another aspect of the rally that is yet to be discussed by others: the presence of the very young.
    Many senior citizens turned up at the rally for the first time in their lives, including a 90 year-old former Prime Minister.
    But the presence of what I called “the very young” was not obvious in the past BERSIH rallies was quite visible at BERSIH 4. I saw many faces whom I feel were probably around 15 years old to 18 years old, especially on the afternoon of Sunday, 30th August.
    I was 21 in 1998. The rally on 20th September, 1998 prompted me to get actively involved in politics at a young age.
    Last Sunday, those who were born around the year 2000 were there as active participants. Post BERSIH 4, every existing organisation, party and institution -DAP included- has to learn to listen and talk to the 15 year-olds and their generation.
    Bear this in mind: if the general election is held in 2018, someone who was born when the last economic crisis hit in 1997 would eligible to vote.

    • Great insight Benny, especially from your eyewitness account from the original Bersih till now.. on the racial and also age group composition of rally goers.

      It augurs well for the future.. question would be how of our future is left if status quo remains 20 years down the road..

    • May the 1% who bravely rallied be the angels of inspiration & messengers for Bersih now & in the near future.
      Individual real life stories of the historic 2-day rally can truly inspire the souls & fence sitters who have yet to come to their senses due to lying propaganda, threats & money politics.
      A friend of mine who is a millionaire went to KL without fear but a heart of love for Malaysia.
      Rich or poor, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Bengali or Eurasian. They went with one unified heart for one focused purpose – Bersih For Malaysia Baru.

      The same for those who have done wrong in the past but we must accept them in the Bersih 4.0 rally for they are also Malaysians with the same love for Tanah Air Cinta Ku.
      If God can forgive anyone of us, so can we maafkan lah orang yang kita anggap berdosa. After all, they are flesh & blood & human who can make mistakes. If we can do that, God will multiple His Blessings for this beloved nation. Let us forgive Dr Mahathir like we forgive a grandfather.

      For those who want to still ying-yang-ying-yang, I feel very sorry for their state of mind & warped perception.
      Bersih 4.0 have spoken very loud, very clear & in huge numbers! Either you get it or you don’t in perpetual self-denial.

      Thanks to the multitude of angels, deities, prophets & the untimely dead who also rallied for a successful Bersih 4.0. Also to Kuan Kong for walking tall besides Anil, who also walked tall with tall MJ hat!

    • ‘But the presence of what I called “the very young” was not obvious in the past BERSIH rallies was quite visible at BERSIH 4. I saw many faces whom I feel were probably around 15 years old to 18 years old, especially on the afternoon of Sunday, 30th August’.

      Even those 15 to 18 year olds could smell the lies behind the ‘claim of RM 2.6 billion donation’. Or perhaps they felt that their intelligence have been insulted by such outlandish tales from their PM and his supporters.

    • Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will survive Transparency International’s (TI) scathing call for answers on the RM2.6 billion in his personal bank accounts, although damage will be done to his image and the nation’s as well, analysts said.

      Putrajaya and its institutions still suffered from a trust deficit and this in the long run, will affect Malaysia’s economic prowess and governance, they added.

      Wan Saiful Wan Jan said if the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government does not address the problems the country is facing today, they would have an adverse impact on the nation.

      • The global anti-graft watchdog’s co-founder Michael J. Hershman says Malaysia’s corruption perception index score may be affected by the 1MDB scandal.

        “Typically when there’s a high profile scandal, the perception of that country changes. So in my judgement, because of this corruption scandal, there will be a drop (in the CPI).

        “It has not been released yet but based on history, I see that a country’s perception drops when there’s a lot of media reporting on that scandal,” he said, referring to the CPI for 2015.

    • Transparency International co-founder and Fairfax Group president Michael J. Hershman says there is no need for panel-based investigations and other task force as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak can simply tell the truth and show the documentation of how RM2.6 billion came into his account and how it was spent.

  13. 7 Things I learned from #Bersih4, 29th to 30th Aug 2015..
    1) Facebook, Twitter and all other social media platforms are VITAL in promoting event prior, updating intensively during, dispelling falsehoods immediately and ultimately provide platforms for intelligent discourse.
    2) You make new friends easily when bonded by a common goal.
    3) Emphaty grows on you when you see the sacrificial extent rally goers do to attend, especially the disabled.
    4) Looking out for each other’s needs become natural when you sleep over together under the KL skies; on the roads, on the sidewalks, on the grass..
    5) Political goal becomes crystal clear when you look to the left and right and see Malaysians, only fellow Malaysians.
    6) The rank and file policemen and policewomen are decent chaps, well drilled and disciplined yet tirelessly staying at their posts.
    7) Whether #Bersih4 achieved its objective or not in the coming months, it shall be in God’s hands & will.. To me, it has been a ROUSING SUCCESS gathering us Malaysians, irregardless of race, religion or colour.

  14. One of the most pertinent thing that the people has learn is that Bersih has been hijacked by the opposition for their selfish goal. Their talk of justice for a clean and uncorruptible govt are all just another deception when they are willing to condone the very act of a corruptible former PM who for 22 years has done the most corruptible activities, cronyism and abuse of every check and balance in the country institution and judiciary.

    • Since when Bersih is willing to condone Tun M?
      Please get your facts right.

      You should ask why Zahid Komedi dare not take action on the orang tua, who has openly asked people to overthrow the PM.

    • Why are you so busy spewing comments here? Why don’t you be like Anil and be a reporter in the field, report out the problems you see in your own blog? That would be helpful to argue your case to more readers. I support your right to argue, but dont waste it in the comments section here, far too few readers and commenters to admire and appreciate it, aim big league 🙂 or do you already have a blog to share?

    • Bersih also hijacked by racists. In past bersihs, when there are more Malays, they said nothing. Now, when there are more non Malays, bersih 4 reveal who are the real racists. Bersih also means to no hanky panky and clean over the 2.4billions which recently surfaced.

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