PETALING JAYA, Jul 1: Matthias Chang, the former political secretary of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has spoken out against the government's political crackdown in the run-up to the July 9 rally for electoral reforms by Bersih.
Writing in his blog, Chang (right), a staunch loyalist of the former prime minister and no friend of Pakatan Rakyat, described the spate of arrests of Bersih sympathisers and the threats by UMNO ringleaders to thwart the rally as indicating "the administration’s one track mentality in solving problems, not that the Bersih Rally is a problem."
Saying Bersih's organisers had already given assurance of the rally's peaceful nature, Chang called on authorities not to deploy the Federal Reserve Unit but instead assist them in controlling traffic during the gathering.
"Bersih has assured the nation that the rally would be peaceful and its intention is to deliver a memorandum for a fair and clean election to the King.
"How long would the Bersih Rally be, in the absence of any police action? At the most, one and half hours, and thereafter, they would have to disperse, again peacefully. End of the story," he wrote, adding that those behind Bersih was aware that allowing the rally to turn violent could only undermine the group's credibility.
'Sheer stupidity to ban t-shirts'
Chang also said prime minister Najib Razak should join hands with the Bersih protesters and accompany them in handing over the memorandum to the Agong.
"Be at the gate of the Agong’s palace to stand in solidarity with the participants and show support for their civic-mindedness and assure all those peaceful participants that every effort will be made to ensure a fair and clean election as was the case in 2008 and all previous elections," he added.
Reserving some of his harshest words for UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin and Perkasa leaders, Chang also rubbished as "sheer stupididy" the announcement by Home minister Hishamuddin Hussein banning the yellow Bersih t-shirts.
"To declare that it is a crime and or illegal to wear any clothing in yellow bearing the logo 'Bersih' is sheer stupidity. And the Home Minister is a lawyer by training!
"If such clampdown is to demonstrate the power of UMNO and nothing else, then the year long campaign that we are '1Malaysia' rings hollow and that the Barisan Nasional government has no faith in its policies especially its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), the political crown jewel of Najib’s administration," he said.
Last year, the 61-year old Chang, a lawyer by training, chose to go to jail for contempt of court after an argument with the High Court judge during a defamation suit he took against American Express for suspending his card. - HarakahDaily