Apr 30: In the noisy aftermath of the Bersih 3.0 rally for electoral reforms, the bulk of the pressure is being felt by prime minister Najib Razak for not taking earlier steps to address claims of electoral abuse.
According to director of PAS’s Research Centre Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pic), the bad press especially over incidents of police brutality on journalists could not have come at a worst time, when World Press Freedom Day is around the corner, on May 3.
“I think this has seen some of the worst violence meted out on journalists. Some were arrested, punched, kicked, their equipment was destroyed… and all these six days before the World Press Freedom Day,” said the Kuala Selangor member of parliament.
Dzulkefly said Najib may find it hard to defend against criticisms from both the Western and non-Western media, adding that reporters from Al-Jazeera, Channel News Asia as well local dailies had also been affected.
Dzulkefly however reminded that the people must remain committed towards reforms of the electoral system before the next general election.
He said while they had every right to demand a thorough investigation into what transpired on the streets of Kuala Lumpur on April 28, the people must not be destracted in their demands for a fair electoral system.
He reminded the main reason why the third Bersih rally was organised last Saturday.
“We held the rally because we were disappointed with the parliamentary select committee, whose findings were rushed through in parliament without debate,” said Dzulkefly.
He added that the Najib administration, despite their ‘transformation’ battlecry, was also guilty of rushing through what he called “pathetic amendment” on the Election Offences Act “bulldozed on April 19 in the wee hours of the morning”.
“The only amendment they did was (eg) to replace the phrase ‘casting vote’ with ‘voting’,” he quipped.
As for the refusal of the Kuala Lumpur mayor to allow the April 28 gathering on the grounds of Dataran Merdeka, Dzuklefly reminded:
“Remember, Pakatan Rakyat won 10 out of 11 parliamentary seats in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.”