I think Minister of Home Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein should resign. He has failed miserably in “managing the proper conduct of the Constitution and discarded reasonable rights of the citizens”, even after the King made his intervention and publicly made his views known. The King is our Head of State.
Allow me to state my reasons for my call vide this column. Bersih 1.0 and Bersih 2.0 are non-legal organisations. This means that while they exist in real space and time, they are not legal entities in the corporate and legal sense under the laws of our nation.
They are what my Professor of Organisation Theory and I would call ‘organisations’, nonetheless. They exist and have life; they represent the interests of some groups of people.
In this case, they represent the interests of 62 organisations that have some form or other of legal or legitimate existence. I am part of one of the 62 organisations with a legitimate interest in BERSIH 2.0 and its issues and concerns.
In the United States, in almost all undergraduate courses, every student is required to take a course called Logic 101. It deals with the fundamentals of logic and non-logic.
For example, in Logic 101, we learn that a thing cannot be A and B at the same time. It is either A or B but not both. Therefore, A and B are different and separate, and cannot be the same. Let me apply this to educate the home minister, so he can understand why I want him to resign.
The minister declared, and this was agreed to by the Inspector-General of Police, that Bersih 2.0 is an illegal organisation. Now, to say that it is A, we must define which law says that it is illegal. The minister quoted the Societies Act, and some clause within it.
But, if Bersih is not a registered society, can this law be applied to Bersih? But, an even more important question is, “what is the difference between being legal and illegal?”
I believe Bersih may not be a legal and corporate entity under either the Registrar of Societies or even under the Registrar of Companies, or any other legal form.
In fact, as stated by chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasen herself, Bersih 2.0 is merely a coalition of 62 registered and legal entities of all kinds of shapes and sizes, but none of them are partisan political parties. That was the intent in the formation of Bersih 2.0 and this was clarified at the soft launch of Bersih 2.0 at MBPJ.
Therefore my question to the home minister: “How is Bersih 2.0 illegal?” If B2.0 is only non-legal, how can you also make their T-Shirts illegal? If they are illegal, are you suggesting that the King, as our Head of State, was meeting with an illegal organisation? Can and should the King be above the law then?
But even more importantly, does not the police force serve the King, as the “Di-Raja” title implies? Do not they serve at the pleasure of the King, and not just the government of the day?
And, cannot the King decree his views, as he did, to serve the public interest, and direct Bersih 2.0 not to march the streets but instead go into a stadium? Is it then not the job of both the police and the government, as also already declared by the prime minister, to assign a stadium for them to hold their demonstration in?
Did the government of the day fail to take heed of the Head of State’s instructions? Can another subsidiary authority of the stadium, which belongs to the people, say that the stadium is not allowed to be used? Even the PM spoke about this issue and the stadium’s use!
I believe Polis Di Raja Malaysia should now be called Polis Di Kerajaan Malaysia because they disobeyed the King and followed the orders of the minister and his false logic of illegality. Therefore, both the minister and the IGP must resign for disobeying the King’s directive to Bersih 2.0.
bersih rally 090711 police kick protestor story imageThe people must now be called the Rakyat Di Raja for their obedience and their peaceful march to their stadium to establish and claim their space of freedom of expression.
Their only hindrance was the illegitimate acts of the police! The Bersih 2.0 Exco chose the Merdeka Stadium simply because it belongs to the people! This is the same place the Rakyat Di Raja wants to see the dreams of Tunku Abdul Rahman fulfilled! Medeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!
At 10.30am last Saturday morning, four RMC Old Putera, as we are called, decided to meet, review and march. We met at Gopala’s in Brickfields. We all got there undetected by the police even though three of us wore variations of yellow!
We had a good breakfast and discussed all related issues about the legality or non-legality of the march. Two could not march because of other priorities, but two of us decided to march for the sake of demonstrating peaceful resistance; our Gandhian March.
The road less marched!
No Malaysian can be disbarred from walking up to the Stadium after the King agreed that the demonstration can be held within a stadium. Especially if they are wearing yellow in utter respect for the King; and the two are Old Putera of the Royal Military College; whose colours were given by the King!
Moreover, two of us, even if in yellow, are not a crowd by any law of the nation! Under the Police Act, three or more is a crowd. So, we set off bravely about 11.30am. We walked and could see the different groups gathering at different staging points. Some were already camped next to the stadium the night before.
We finally reached the Methodist Boy’s School side of the stadium, after meandering and avoiding all road blocks till there.
Near the stadium area we reached a police blockade and the officer told us that the hill was out of bounds to all. We reasoned that we are only following orders of the King to gather inside the stadium and wore yellow in respect for the King. Our logic was illogical for Hishammuddin’s boys in blue!
When and how then can we have better democracy in Malaysia? Only through freer and fairer elections? When the referee does not close an eye to corruption and appear not to understand what bribery is, and where a healthier gerrymandering is agreed but limited by due process and transparent rules?
It is one where, citizen volunteers are trained exceptionally well by the Election Commission to appreciate all the rules on elections; as neutral PACA volunteers! But, it cannot be wherein there are ghost voters above 100 years old!
We therefore need an integrated biometric system of identity cards which defines single locations of voting addresses and authenticates people who are alive against those with ghostly features!
May God allow Malaysia to search for truth, righteousness and justice for all!
KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. He is now dean of the Faculty of Economics and Policy Science at UCSI University, Malaysia. The views expressed here are personal views of the writer and not those of the university or any other institution he is involved with. Please write to the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any feedback or views.