WHAT THE ECONOMIST SAYS ABOUT BERSIH 3.0

Posted on May 7, 2012

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Anwar Ibrahim has been critical of the New Eco...

Anwar Ibrahim has been critical of the New Economic Policy since his recent release from prison. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bersih 3.0 Debate of Amibiga and Khairy Jamaluddin before 1 May 2012.

There was this interesting article on Bersih.30, published on 1 May 2012 by The Economist in United Kingdom (UK). The article was given a review by Blogger Just Read, probably due to its significance to the Malaysian public. It did appear impartial, judging through its content and the general belief from the other side of the Malaysia’s political divide (Read: Con-Group) that how it wished the article did not appear in Malaysian social media since it was not to their liking. Anyway, theEconomist  rarely publish articles contrary to the majority of the Malaysian people‘s perception as always. But this time around the magazine seems bent to giving a “pleasant surprise” to its readers at large. Why the change in the editorial attitude? Is it due to the the current UK government‘s rekindled interest to “restore” its economic relationship with Malaysian. A Closer economic and bilateral relations beween the two governments are considered top prioriy to offset the trouble at home? Or perhaps there is some sort of mutual benefits which may be derived from this new arrangement. We just hope for the better and  hence a win-win situation for the two countries – Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Below is an extract of the Review by Just Read:

Just Read 6 May 2012 Najib govt remain intact says The Economist

                       

No matter how dirty Bersih is, PM Najib and his government remain intact. In fact, Anwar and his team got lots of explanation to do on post-April 28 rally which put the Opposition in a limbo, especially in the eyes of their foreign supporters.

Influential world-class publication The Economist assessed Bersih 3.0 as something the Opposition could have skipped or cancelled as it failed to signify their true demand for a just poll. The episode too pictures them as a rebel group trying to run down the government by force, by coup.

“Bersih 3.0 has done little to shake Datuk Seri Najib Razak‘s reformist image… and unlike last year, the political impact from this year’s event was likely minimal.

“It is clear that Bersih won’t be able to dominate the moral high ground – at least not on the score of one weekend’s theatrics – as they did last year. The campaign for electoral reform goes on, but Mr Najib emerges from this year’s fracas with his reformist credentials essentially intact, not much worse for the wear,” said The Economist in an article dated May 1.

It also described this year’s rally as more of a ‘score-draw’ and that although there were recurrences of police brutality, the violent actions of some Bersih protesters attacking and overturning a police car ‘played into the government’s hands’.

It says, this has allowed PM Najib to claim that the police were the ‘victims’ in the rally and even made Bersih co-chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan concede that some people would think that the rally had gone wrong because of the unruly behaviour of some protesters.

Ambiga had, during a press conference after the rally, said it was the police who ‘drew first blood’. However, Bukit Aman video footage proved otherwise, especially when the protesters tore down barricades at the Dataran Merdeka.

The Economist also questioned Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim‘s presence during the April 28 rally, saying that he had some explaining to do with regards to accusations that he had incited Bersih supporters to push aside police barriers.

“He was caught on video near one of the police barriers talking to one of his colleagues; critics allege that he was inciting supporters to push aside the barriers. Mr Anwar himself says this is nonsense,” said the article.

It stated that since the embarrassment faced by Najib in his administration’s handling of last year’s Bersih rally, the government had repealed a slew of outdated and repressive laws to win back its reforming credentials.

“Bersih rallies have quickly established themselves as something of a ritual in Malaysia’s political calendar…the only significant variant is the political impact. Last year it was huge – this year it will probably be very little.”

In an interview with Radio Australia on Tuesday, Anwar denied that his hand gesture, as shown on the video footage, was a signal to protestors to breach the barricades, instead claiming that it meant ‘negotiate with the police’.

Such an analysis by The Economist will probably spur others to reconsider their ‘supportive’ notes for Bersih. Knowing how much The Economist had criticised Malaysia, especially during the tenure of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the premier, its latest article is believed not as trying to play chummy with Najib but was merely based on true observation.

By logic, The Economist got nothing to lose if it sways toward the Opposition. However, I personally believe it upholds professionalism more than producing lies, like the Opposition media does!

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Friday, May 4, 2012

 

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