May 8: Marina Mahathir, daughter of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has launched a stinging attack on UMNO leaders who accused participants of the Bersih 3.0 rally last month of wanting to topple the government through street protests.
“What is this obsession with us not being Egypt anyway? If we’re not, then why worry? Besides, who needs to worry about the Arab Spring unless they identify themselves with Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gadaffi and Assad?” she wrote in a blog posting, referring to the Arab dictators.
UMNO leaders, including her father, had earlier said that Bersih protesters were imitating the people’s uprising in the Middle East, collectively known as the ‘Arab Spring’, and wanted to replace the current government through street protests and foreign interference.
Marina (pic), who also joined the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28, defended the right to peaceful assembly and said there was nothing wrong when the Egyptian people assembled at Tahrir Square to press for democratic reforms.
“They want a greater say in the policies of the government. They want an end to corruption. They want proper elections with many candidates to choose from, not just those handpicked by the rulers. They want an end to military interference in politics,” she wrote.
“Aren’t these reasonable? But our government will not acknowledge that these demands are quite normal. Well maybe they’re not in an undemocratic country.”
Marina also took to task those who argued that Malaysians need not protest as their country was “not Egypt.
“If Malaysia is not Egypt and our leaders are not Mubarak, then why are Malaysians who went to Bersih treated like Egyptian protestors?” she asked.
“If anyone had gone down to Dataran on the Sunday after Bersih 3.0, apart from the barbed wire, everything was back to normal… Made our point, now let’s go eat. This is why we are not Egypt. In this we agree with our government. We are NOT Egypt. But then why respond in such Mubarak-like fashion?”
On the recent declaration by the National Fatwa Council that demonstrating against the government was forbidden in Islam, Marina reminded of a similar ruling made by Egypt’s Al-Azhar University Fatwa Committee in the days leading to Mubarak’s resignation on February 11, 2011.
“So getting the NFC ( hmmm…dubious initials…) to issue such a fatwa seems very Mubarak-like, doesn’t it?” she quipped.