After much preparation, the young self-proclaimed Emperor of The Han Dynastory is now serving a full-time mission to the UK with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will return in 2014.


Welcome to the Han Dynastory!

As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.

Enjoy your stay!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Response to the Outcome of the Bersih Rally

I definitely agree that protesters shouting "reformasi" (reformation in Malay) was an extremely bad move on the part of the Bersih movement. A protest against unfair elections and an anti-government protest are very, very different things. Misguided chants of reformasi only serve to weaken the credibility of the Bersih movement. Worse still, it may lay the foundation for further trouble with the elections.

Imagine the outcome of 2 possible scenarios expressed below:

1. The Bersih Movement sticks strictly to their original call for CLEAN ELECTIONS ONLY.
If the government heeds their call and promises and makes provisions for fair elections, the government may still win the election, but if the integrity of the election is proven, the population will have to accept the results.

2. The Bersih Movement mutates into an ANTI-GOVERNMENT protest.
Even if the government heeded the original call for clean and fair elections, citizens confused by the calls for reformasi will think that the whole purpose of the Bersih Movement was to topple the government. This would result in a refusal to accept a possible win in the election by the incumbent party, Barisan Nasional, even if the election was proven clean. Further protests (and likely more violent ones) may ensue, plunging the country further into chaos.

Unfortunately, it seems that yesterday saw the prelude to the second scenario, where reformasi calls sprouted during the protests. It may not have been the intention of the organisers, but they should have ensured that all who took part in the rally were sufficiently disciplined and clear about their goals.

What I provided is a worst-case scenario, a lose-lose situation for both the government and the populace. How the situation actually plays out will depend on how Najib handles the situation. Unfortunately, he remarked that "the incident... will serve as a lesson for everyone that street demonstration not only brings hardship to the people, it could also lead to possessions being destroyed." Such a statement may only serve to stoke vengeful anger against the government, and Najib ought to have been more careful with his choice of words. Nevertheless, credit should still be given to his other statement, 'if there are other issues, the rally organisers can discuss with the Election Commission and the Government. But illegal rallies and street demonstrations are out of the question.'

If Najib truly means what he said, then I hope that the opposition accepts the diplomatic gesture. If there is at least one lesson to learn from the Bersih protest, it is that their intentions must be firmly established and adhered to. Such rallies are not an excuse for frustrated citizens to vent their anti-government anger, eliciting inevitable countermeasures by the police. To stray from the original plan would only prove the government right. Both the government and the Bersih supporters may have made mistakes yesterday, but it is up to the people to show their noble intentions. Let the government see that Malaysians are rational people who will make their stand peacefully. Let the government see that above all they only want to see their beloved country change for the better.