Bungling Najib making opposition stronger

By Syed Jeymal Zahiid, FMT

SERI KEMBANGAN: Former minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s poor handling of the Bersih 2.0 rally had made the polls watchdog a potent force and strengthened public support for the opposition.

Kadir, a former tourism minister during the time of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said Najib could have easily minimised the Bersih threat if he had engaged the NGO instead of resorting to force, which, he added, had boosted the group.

“The government had built it up to become a big giant,” he told FMT in a recent interview at his office here, agreeing with the opinions of various party leaders who believed it would have been better to engage the polls watchdog in discussions than resorting to repressive measures.

“I would have allowed the procession right from the beginning… then there will be no noise at all… Bersih would have had only two days of publicity,” said the Umno veteran who described Bersih’s demands for electoral reforms as valid.

The suppression of the July 9 rally drew widespread condemnation from home and abroad.

Nearly 200 people were arrested ahead of the rally, and almost 1,700 more were detained on July 9 when Kuala Lumpur was virtually locked down.

No two-thirds for Najib

Despite the efforts to prevent the rally from taking place, tens of thousands converged on the capital city in a march for free and fair elections.