Based on the events of the last few days, Bersih co-chairperson A Samad Said will not be surprised if he becomes the next target of those who did the ‘butt exercises’ in front of his colleague Ambiga Sreenevasan’s house.
“I feel that it is insolent, an insolent act. It is not impossible that they would do it in front of my house next. Not impossible,” Samad said when asked by
As to how he would react to a group of people wriggling their buttocks in front of his house, he said: “The reaction will not be from me, but from the public. Just go ahead and do it.”
Samad chuckled when asked why the protesters chose to vent their anger against Ambiga and not him, and replied that the question should be directed to the protesters.
The national laureate also said the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association may have been encouraged by the police statement that the ‘burger protest’ was not a criminal offence .
“The deputy inspector-general of police said it is not wrong to demonstrate in front of Ambiga’s house... this may have encouraged it. So the people did it again,” he said.
‘Laws interpreted by the powerful’
Asked how he felt about protests being allowed in residential areas and not in a public area meant for gatherings, Samad said: “This is because the law is interpreted by the powerful.”
He added that the protests, which are “acts of intimidation”, would not weigh down Bersih’s momentum.
The 'butt exercises' also received condemnation from another retired armed forces group, which said the act is not befitting of the Rukunegara principle of good behaviour and morality.
Armed Forces Retirees and Veteran Welfare Club (Kerabat) president Lt Col (R) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar said the 'butt exercises' are not becoming of the retirees either.
"Personally, I feel this is a rather immature thing to do," said the leader of NGO seen to be close to PAS.
He said the gimmick was probably to present PVTM as pro-Umno to receive allocations from the Defence Ministry through the army veterans' welfare department.
"There are many sections of the army and each of us have our own association," he said, explaining that some of the groups fail to look out for the members' welfare.
Former Police Personnel Association president Shafie Bakri said it is up to the armed forces fraternity to judge the protest.
However, he said that, while his association does not agree with Bersih, it would find a more suitable way to air its views.
"We would not do such a thing," Shafie said, while refusing to comment directly on this morning's incident as former police personnel were not involved.
In the incident, about 15 people had performed ‘butt exercises' to condemn Ambiga, who they accused of smearing the country's name.
However, Ambiga surprised them by coming out of her house and offering them canned isotonic drinks.
The protesters declined the offer, saying that as Malay Muslims, they “only drink lukewarm water”.
On May 10, a group of small traders set up a burger stall in front of Ambiga’s house in upmarket Bukit Damansara, claiming that they had suffered losses due to the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.
Additional reporting by Ahmad Fadli KC