Thursday, July 7, 2011


By Mansor Puteh

Sometimes strange things do happen on the way to a protest march. Amiga who proposed the Bersih 2.0 protest for Saturday, 9 July in Kuala Lumpur, could be seen by some to be someone who is so careless that she does not know who and what cause she is serving.

Unfortunately, despite the controversies surrounding the protests, the general public does not seem to be bothered with and as far as I can see no one is talking about it.

There are so few people who dwell on it with the media leading the pack to further prod them into giving statements and indirectly spinning the issue around and around until the King finally had to make a statement which made to the front-page of the newspapers and on prime-time television news.

This created another around for the matter to be further turned and spinned on and on as the issue started to dissipate as high-noon approach in two days’ time when fears started to encroach into the subconscience of those who are directly involved in the protest per se and the other protests against the major protest. 

In the meantime, the newspapers manage to peddle their wares, with sales which are expected to increase when other important and interesting stories could not be manufactured.

Maybe the start of the trial of the murder of Soosilawati and some of her friends can distract the media for a while, but this is overwhelmed by the Bersih protest.

The media really likes some people who are stuck in politics who do not know what else they can do or where they can go to next, and who can come up with any statement that can make it to the press.

They are the media darlings; they give the media some stories to publish and to sell the papers.

Amiga’s one act seems to betray her good sense, even more so when we could all see how the government seems to benefit a lot more than she or anyone else in her Bersih coalition and Opposition could see or imagine.

One has to now admit how the horribly planned Bersih Protest for Saturday, 9 July has turned out to be, a blow for the Left and a boost for the Right, the more individuals and groups supporting the government protest against the planned Bersih protest.

However, the planned Bersih organized protests looks like it won’t happen, as what the newspapers highlight, especially with the threat of more arrests under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) by the police, which is no joke especially since some of them have already been arrested the last week.

But despite that the ‘damage’ has been done – not to the government but to the opposition who now realize how frail they are and how solid the support for the government is.

Even though there are some in the opposition who want to admit that the whole matter has worked to their benefit. But what a benefit it has been!

The protest could not have happen without the ‘full support’ of the media.

Who stands to gain from them?

The traders will lose; hotels will see a decline in room rentals and tourist arrivals will be curtailed if the protests happened on 9 July.

But who will definitely ‘benefit’ from them, if not the press!

It is therefore ironic how the media in Malaysia has not looked at themselves to see who are the persons who are ‘behind’ the protests.

They themselves.

The Bersih coalition may be the spur, but the media is the real culprit behind all this, for without massive media support the protests could not happen.

If the media had ignored Amiga’s grand plans to organize the protest march, then surely, there is no controversy and she has to depend on the alternative media especially the internet portals to get her statements out.

Stop it, I like it!?

There is a love-hate relationship between the local media and the noise-makers who are now seen as convenient ‘newsmakers’ they are not.

It has also caused many unknown individuals to be given the space to voice their discontent on Amiga and her Bersih group and with everybody saying almost the same things in almost the same vein.

Some of them, however, will catch the attention of the higher-ups in Barisan and Pakatan so they can become candidates in the next general election.

It is no secret how many of the current members of parliament from both the government and opposition had done this trick before, where they shout themselves hoarse, and it caught the attention of the more senior leaders of their parties and who managed to become candidates in the earlier elections that had allowed them to get posts in the cabinet and sometimes some other government agencies.

Street politics seems to be a convenient way for some to trust themselves in public and to attract the attention of the leaders in their parties.

This is how politics in Malaysia works; one cannot be smart and quiet and has to be vocal to attract attention.

This is how political leadership in Malaysia is created not by those who are smart, but by those who are loud and coarse to the extent of being vulgar.

And they are supposed to be good for the government as well as for the opposition.

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