In the greater interest of democracy, both the Government and Bersih 3.0 organizers have to strike a compromise on where to hold the sit-in protest.
I’m certain the student activists who had been camping at Dataran Merdeka did not know that their occupation was illegal under DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) by-laws.
The 10-year-old by-law cites a long list of restrictions, like the offense under by-Law 4(a), for example, which reads: “No person shall, unless approved by the Commissioner in writing, eat any food, drink or smoke any cigarette, cigar or any tobacco in Dataran Merdeka.”
There are 18 other offenses under the same law, including plucking leaves, branches, flowers or seeds of any plant, spitting, urinating or defecating and erecting tents and lying down to sleep in the square without the permission of the Commissioner.
By-Law 6 states that it is an offense to remain in Dataran Merdeka between 1am and 6am.
What should interest us is under by-Law 8 - assemblies, demonstrations, meetings or gatherings or any other activity are prohibited unless exempted with a permit issued by the Commissioner.
Those breaching the rules can be charged and on conviction, be liable to a fine of RM2,000, be jailed for a year or both.
But apparently we have come to a stage where people just don’t give a shit about laws when it comes to taking political sides. Yes, even those who profess the law as their profession and at one time headed the Bar Council.
DBKL has rejected Bersih 3.0’s request to hold its sit-in protest at Dataran Merdeka this Saturday 28th April. The square has since been cordoned off to prevent any kind of demonstration.
The managements of both Bukit Jalil National Stadium and Stadium Merdeka have offered these as venues but the Bersih 3.0 steering committee have been adamant that their protest would go on as planned at Dataran Merdeka.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted “The issue here is not the sit-in protest but the location. We have no problem if they have it at Stadium Merdeka, Bukit Jalil, Cheras or Titiwangsa.
So what is it that has put civility and common sense on the back burner as the Bersih 3.0 committee charges ahead hell bent on a collision course with the authorities?
Apparently all that matters is hatred for the other side which justifies everything. Or does Ambiga have an agenda of her own? I’m not ruling out political ambitions.
So, what can we expect on Saturday?
Those who are on neither side of the fence can only hope that good sense will prevail, and both the Government and Bersih 3.0 organizers will come to a compromise in the greater interest of Malaysian democracy.
We will all end up losing if this is just about a show of power by both sides.
Surely, politics cannot be about “they are always wrong and we are always right” or “we are good and they are evil’. Sadly our public discourses, especially in cyberspace and on social networking sites has really come down to this state.
The rants are akin to what is diagnosed as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), a mental condition characterized by a pattern of angry, antagonistic, hostile, negative, irritable, and/or vindictive behavior.
ODD, a relatively new clinical classification, involves an ongoing pattern of defiant and hostile conduct toward parents or other authority figures.
Children and adolescents with ODD often have frequent temper tantrums, blame others for their misbehavior, argue all the time, refuse to comply with rules and requests, defy adults and are easily annoyed by others.
But of course, those afflicted with such a condition think that they are perfect and beyond reproach. Which is kinda sad for the herd being manipulated, and the mindless monkey see monkey doers.