KUALA LUMPUR – Bersih is a political opposition movement disguising themselves as an independent “civil society” to manipulate the public, according to government leader Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
Referring to the illegal rally currently being staged by Bersih in the federal capital, she said the movement, launched in 2006, had organised numerous rallies yet failed to achieve anything or create significant changes in politics or public policies.
“In fact they have also distorted from the original objectives. Their penchant for large scale street protests as part of a political display have inevitably triggered other counter-rallies that could potentially spiral into a state of lawlessness,” she said in a statement here today.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department also echoed Prime Minister’s Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s statement yesterday that any dissatisfaction must be voiced through proper channels.
She said it was unlawful for any parties to try to unseat a democratically-elected government via street protests, but instead should wait for the next election.
Azalina pointed out that any coalition or movement should not abuse the fundamental rights under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, as well as the right to assemble peaceably and without arms under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
“Although the Federal Constitution and the Peaceful Assembly Act are protecting the right to peacefully assemble, the right is not an absolute right and there are limitations which are necessary for a democratic society, national security, public safety, prevention of disorder and crime, as well as for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others,” she said.
The minister also slammed opposition leaders behind Bersih, whom she said were a motley crew of former enemies driven by self-interest, not the greater good of society.
“If it was really the people they truly cared about, they would not break Malaysia’s laws and bring chaos to our capital, negatively impacting businesses and the people who are trying to go about their daily lives,” she said. – BERNAMA