Jun 11, 2008

Rallies in Malaysia-Cries and Tears of ''RAKYAT''

Within a year, Malaysians took to the streets for few times. Few major rallies shocked government with huge turnouts. BERSIH and HINDRAF rally still fresh in my mind. I took part in the HINDRAF rally and I believe that there is no illegal assembly as stated in federal constitution. Federal constitution itself stated that Malaysian citizen can assemble as long as they are in peace. It’s a way that I can demonstrate and show my dissatisfaction against government.


2007 BERSIH Rally
The 2007 Bersih Rally was a rally held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 10, 2007. Event organizers intended to have a peaceful, non-violent rally, advising participants in the days and weeks beforehand how to keep the rally peaceful. However the rally was marred by government sanctioned police violence. The aim of this walk was to campaign for electoral reform. It was precipitated by allegations of corruption and discrepancies in the Malaysian election system that heavily favor the ruling political party, Barisan Nasional, which has been in power since Malaysia achieved its independence in 1957.
They demands of BERSIH rally relate to reform of the current electoral system.
They are:

-Usage of Indelible Ink
-Clean up Registered Voters Roll
-Abolition of Postal Votes
-Access to the Government controlled print and broadcast media for Opposition Parties.


2007 HINDRAF Rally
The 2007 HINDRAF rally was a rally held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 25, 2007. The rally organizer, the Hindu Rights Action Force, had called the protest over alleged discriminatory policies which favour ethnic Malays. HINDRAF lawyer filed a class action suit against the United Kingdom in the Court of Britain for "withdrawing after granting independence and leaving us (Indians) unprotected and at the mercy of a majority Malay-Muslim government that has violated our rights as minority Indians". The purpose of the rally was to hand over a 100,000 signature memorandum to the British Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
HINDRAF organized the rally on Sunday, November 25, 2007 to submit the petition at the British High Commission. Malaysian police refused to grant a permit for the rally , and set up roadblocks in Klang Valley along roads leading up to the rally to screen motorists entering the city center and identify "troublemakers". They also advised the public not to participate in the rally, and arrested three leaders of HINDRAF. Many shops around Kuala Lumpur including Suria KLCC were closed on that day in fear of trouble from the rally.
On the morning of the rally, more than 30 000 people gathered near the Petronas Twin Towers, a symbol of modern Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, carrying life-size portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and Mahatma Gandhi, to indicate the nonviolent nature of their protest.

Another Mass Rally..???
Pakatan Rakyat planned 100,000 people rally to challenge to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s against the fuel hike. The opposition party leaders have also strongly reacted to the sudden 41 per cent hike in petrol and 63 per cent hike in diesel prices.
PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said it would only benefit the rich and their cronies.
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said the steep rise is shameful and totally unacceptable.
Pas reactions can best be gauged from the fact that it is the main force behind the organisation of the July 12 protest outside the Twin Towers where the Petronas headquarters is located.
I shocked reaction is rooted in the fact that between 1990 and 2000, the petrol price rise was only 10 cents a liter for a whole decade. When new PM took over in October 2003, the price was RM1.37 and within five years has risen to RM2.70 a liter.
I expect, it will be another cry of the poor Malaysians, sure those affected victims, and mostly lowest income citizen will be taking part in the rally despite the police warning. BERSIH rally demanded for democratic elections and HINDRAF rally protested over alleged discriminatory policies which favour ethnic Malays. July 5 is a fresh protest against the drastic fuel hike by government.

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