By Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — MCA Youth has come out to publicly condemn the anti-Bersih protests outside Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan’s home yesterday, saying such “tit-for-tat” moves would only turn Malaysia into an international laughingstock.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong pointed out in a statement here that the counter protests were tantamount to “harassment and intimidation against Ambiga” and were sending a wrong message to the country’s youths.
“Thus, for the two anti-Ambiga groups to gather in a residential area to protest against the Bersih 3.0 rally is teaching the younger generation that a tit-for-tat situation is the best solution. This is unhealthy,” the deputy minister said.
“Lacking maturity, staging a protest to protest a protest will send Malaysia down the slippery slope towards the ‘an eye-for-an-eye’ mentality, which will be detrimental to our country’s peace and will make us the laughing stock of the world.”
Two anti-Bersih groups — “Bersih 4.0” and “Halau 1.0” — had gathered near Ambiga’s residence in Bukit Damansara yesterday demanding the Bersih co-chair apologise for the violence and alleged property damage which occurred during the Bersih 3.0 rally for free and fair elections on April 28.
“Chase out Ambiga! Bersih is dirty!” the 50-odd Halau 1.0 participants had shouted during the protest, even as the second group, “Bersih 4.0”, disassociated themselves from them.
Meanwhile, “Bersih 4.0” is planning to stage its own mammoth rally at Stadium Bukit Jalil this June 23, hoping to push their “message of peace” and rejection of “Bersih 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0”.
But Wee insisted today that there are other channels that could be used to express anger or disappointment, instead of street protests.
He warned that should street protests become a norm in Malaysia, the country’s streets would become a place of violence, “similar to Egypt and Libya, where the majority of protestors are youths”.
Wee said yesterday’s dual protests had only succeeded in aggravating political tension in the country, adding that this was in complete contrast to Malaysia’s political culture and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s transformation plans.
“While MCA and Barisan Nasional (BN) respect the right to freedom of expression, and we hold that true for Ambiga and the Bersih protesters as well; however, we believe that any form of protest or disagreement must conform to the rule of law, and that street protests will not resolve anything, more particularly when it takes the form of mob rule designed to intimidate and hurt,” he said.
Ambiga’s home has been a target for protests of late, following Bersih 3.0’s rally in the city on April 28.
Over the past few weeks, separate groups have held a variety of gatherings outside the former Bar Council president’s private property, including setting up a burger stall and performing “butt exercises”.
Ambiga and Bersih 2.0’s steering committee members are currently facing a legal suit initiated by the government, claiming damages worth RM122,000 resulting from Bersih 3.0.