First Winner – Bersih 2.0
Obviously Bersih (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) is now a well-known household brand name synonym with “Fair and Clean”. You can bet your money that if you register this name as a political party and put a donkey as the candidate, you will win the seat with handsome majority (*grin*). Forget about Najib’s pea-size brain cousin, Home Minister Hishammuddin, who declared Bersih as an illegal organization. The fact that the King agreed for an audience with Bersih representatives means Bersih is recognized as a coalition of 62 NGOs whose interest was purely in promoting democracy and free and fair elections in Malaysia.
Bersih 2.0 chairperson, Ambiga, was right when she said Bersih was not about her or any other political parties. Bersih was about the people, the voice of rakyat for a fair election.
Second Winner – Ambiga Sreenevasan, Bersih chairperson
Ambiga, a Malaysian lawyer who served is the President of the Malaysian Bar Council from 2007 – 2009, became one of the eight recipients of the 2009 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award in 2009. She is perhaps widely known as the lawyer who stood in the controversial religious case for Lina Joy in her apostasy case. From being attacked in a racial slur by Perkasa as a dangerous Hindu woman to SMS death threat and the call to revoke her citizenship, this woman gains the respect of many for her perseverance.
However she was taking a huge risk when she said she will cancel the rally should she be ordered to do so by the King as it was public knowledge that King’s scripts were normally drafted by Najib administration beforehand. The event sent many in the Bersih committee in disarray and divided over the next course of action should the King were to be on Najib’s side. It was a brilliant tactical move by Najib (or rather Mahathir?) nevertheless in trapping Ambiga who is a political novice. Fortunately, the King granted her an audience, indirectly recognized Bersih as a coalition despite Najib’s cousin declaring it as an illegal movement.
The King neither asked Ambiga to cancel nor endorse the rally but advised both Bersih and Najib administration to negotiate. Needless to say, the arrogant Najib refuse to entertain the King’s advise as it would be seen as losing face to Bersih. Now, Ambiga is an asset whom opposition party (and Najib? Nah!) can recruit as a credible candidate for the next general election.
Third Winner – Opposition parties
As I’ve blogged earlier, when the opposition parties were searching for the next weapon to keep the momentum alive ahead of a snap election speculated to be called anytime soon, Najib foolishly presented them with one. The opposition parties would not have the best platform to swing the fence-sitting voters over to their camp if Najib didn’t show his arrogance by threatening Bersih with the silliest accusation – working with communists and arresting people who wear yellow shirts. He should have engaged Bersih with the objective of locking out opposition parties from riding on the wave of Bersih’s rally.
Thanks to police’s brutality in firing tear-gas directly at innocent crowds, the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was himself injured while another was dead and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find election campaign bullets. If opposition parties were to probably lose Selangor and Kedah while maintaining Perak states if a snap election were to call this year, the same cannot be said now post Bersih rally. Should Najib allows the rally to proceed, his administration may be able to regain its two-third majority.