Bersih and ‘Opposition’ versus UMNO/BN Rallies: disputes on numbers can be fixed

J. D. Lovrenciear

It appears that Malaysians cannot count. The mega and on-going fight everyday in the news is about the disagreement over how many people attended the many ‘my’ and ‘your’ events.

The main stream media presents the imagery that the numbers participating in UMNO/BN rallies are bursting at the seams. But when it comes to civil society rallies or those ‘ceramas’ by Opposition parties, the picture presented is always disputed by the readers.

On the other end of the divide, civil society presents video and photo records on the new media that certainly seems to tell a different picture of crowd numbers at rallies – be it an UMNO/BN or an Opposition/Civil Society event.

Who is lying and who is not? Since truth is being challenged, manipulated and distorted to suit ulterior agendas of those with vested interests, it is about time to plug this ‘perception mismanagement’ as the public have an innate right to know the truth from the lies and the media has that time-honored duty to inform, presenting the truth without color or tint of vested, slanted, or prejudiced interests.

One sure way to go about it is to hold a Bersih 3.0 Re-run or even a Bersih 4.0 and have a headcount plan well in place.

We could have pre-printed, numbered tags for participants similar to those we pin-up for walk-a-tons, marathons and other competitive sports. If this is too much an administrative nightmare, we could opt for the easier method where for every 100 or 1,000 headcount capacity space of crowd numbers, you erect a placard registering the numeric headcount for that ‘longgok’ of crowd numbers.

So as each demarcated headcount perimeter gets filled up we can do an undisputed headcount merely by seeing the numbers on the official placards.

These can then be captured on camera and uploaded for all to read. Then we will be able to teach and make it easy for all those who have a counting disability. It will also once and for all cut the rubbishing propaganda of lies that discount the numbers at rallies just to make one event more believable than the other.

This will also force the media to print the truth. And where a media is adamantly peddling untruths or distorted news, then some form of legal redress should be in place effectively and  also do institute a reputation-damage exercise on the faulting media operator.

Is this exercise really necessary? Yes. Going by the unprecedented mountain of lies being peddled to the naïve and village voters and even to the global communities, it is about time that champions of truth and integrity ran the extra mile to mend the holes in the net meant to trap lies and deceit.

It will also once and for all tell the world where exactly Malaysians stand in so far as the political and civil society leanings and dichotomies rest. It will also teach politicians to stop trading lies to the uninformed public.