Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bersih2.0: It's Government Clampdown that Created Chaos

Dr Chua Soi Lek needs to be educated that it’s “authoritarian” governments, and not “democracy” movements that cause loss of investor confidence

According to our Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Malaysia's tourism industry incurred over RM100 million in losses due to the Bersih 2.0 rally last Saturday.

Her MCA President, Dato’ Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek went a step further, claiming that the damage from Saturday’s Bersih rally far exceeds RM100 million as the street protest adversely impacts investor confidence and tourism. He said foreigners unfamiliar with Malaysia will be swayed by the chaotic mammoth rally’s footage and reconsider investment plans or travel in the country.

“The loss is in terms of confidence, the loss of the image of Malaysia as a peace-loving country,” he told reporters yesterday.

Dr Chua Soi Lek appears blind to the fact that the “chaotic” mammoth rally in Kuala Lumpur was caused, first by the unnecessarily violent and aggressive tactics deployed by the police force against peaceful demonstrators. “Chaos” was only created when the Bersih supporters needed to run helter-skelter for cover when the police fired rounds of tear gas and liberally showered them with chemically-laced water.

Secondly, it was the Barisan Nasional government who refused permission for Bersih to use the Merdeka stadium as originally compromised, resulting in the supporters having nowhere to go to express themselves by the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Corresponding to the 2-points above, it was the BN administration which decided to “lock-down” the city causing the alleged losses, if it is even anywhere near a plucked from the air figure like RM100 million. Had the police force cooperated with Bersih to work out a route for a peaceful march, none of the above “chaos” would have even occurred. In fact, had such cooperation taken place, the businesses would have thrived in the city centre, promoting domestic tourism.

The MCA President continues to speak the language of authoritarian governments seeking to preserve their tenuous hold on political power by arguing that street rallies will affect investor confidence.

In fact, in the week leading up to the Bersih rally, the Bursa Malaysia Composite Index completely brushed off the economic impact of the rally despite the relentless threats made and doomsday scenario painted by the Government. The Index had in fact increased from 1582.35 on Monday, 4th July to 1594.74 on Friday, 8th July.

It should also be noted that in other developing and developed countries, frequent peaceful and democratic rallies in these countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan have not in any way dented their economic performance, which remains the envy of countries like Malaysia.

Dr Chua Soi Lek should stop trying to mislead the rakyat with tired tales and threats. He should instead embrace democratic principles and speak up for the man-on-the-street, instead of talking down to them, or he should be prepared to go down in history as the worst performing MCA President ever come the next general elections.
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