Utusan likens Bersih organisers, supporters to mat rempits


By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Utusan Malaysia continued its tirade against Bersih 2.0 today, this time likening its organisers and supporters to “stubborn mat rempits” for insisting on marching this July 9.

A day after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, stepped in and asked the government and Bersih to negotiate their difference, the Umno-owned paper said the authorities should not “give face” to the group and should instead round up all rabble-rousers under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“Just imagine what would happen if mat rempits want to negotiate with the police to organise an illegal race,” wrote Zulkiflee Bakar, an editor of the daily. “They say they will follow orders if the cops specify the routes that they can take.

“They also say, what is wrong with an illegal race because it can attract many people and will even benefit traders and taxi drivers?

“Then they add, this is their rights as Malaysians, so why block them? This argument may be viewed as odd because it is impossible for the authorities to permit an illegal activity.”

The demands of the mat rempits were no different from those of Bersih 2.0 and its supporters, largely members of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), said Zulkiflee.

He said it was clear from the actions of Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan and other Bersih organisers, as well as PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, that they were bent on destroying public order this July 9 in order to achieve their goals.

“They do not care if it brings negative effects to the public, what is important is that they get to march on the streets, supposedly to push for free and fair elections. For this reason, the decision by the cops to close all avenues of negotiation is appropriate.

“The time for being soft is over, no more persuasion, appeals or discussion but now is a time for action. This is in view of the fact that the demonstration will only affect the nation in a thousand negative ways,” he said.

Zulkiflee added that if the rally organisers insisted on showing defiance and arrogance, the authorities should be allowed to do the same for the sake of protecting the peace and safety of millions of Malaysians.

The opposition and NGOs such as Bersih, he said, should be taught how to respect and understand the country’s laws and the Federal Constitution and not to misuse them to achieve their “narrow” goals.