All the participating Malaysians came with the same message to the government – calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, writes Khoo Ying Hooi.
Bersih 4 has finally concluded. I’m going to share two key points about the rally.
First, we had a crowd of polite protesters.
Second, the protesters showed maturity in delivering their demands.
Some time ago, during Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protests, I wrote an article, “Polite protest, for real?”
The article put forward the argument that contrary to the stereotypical perception that protests create chaos, a polite protest is, however, possible.
A polite protest does sound unreal for many, but what happened in Hong Kong has proven that there is a place for polite protests.
Those who were on the ground on 29-30 August would agree that Malaysians have proven that we are capable of a peaceful and polite protest.
Despite several undesired minor incidents, Bersih 4 startled many sceptics with its good nature including the removal of trash and the organising of supplies such as water and food.
And not to forget, there was lots of singing led by BangsArt and others. There were also artworks by inspiring artists comprising creative socio-political slogans and graphics.
Undeterred by the “propaganda” before the protest, most protesters played their role as responsible citizens by showing peace and love under a carnival-like atmosphere.
The organiser, Bersih 2.0, kept to their promise that they would not enter Dataran Merdeka and they would provide full cooperation with the police.
In one small incident when a small group of protesters were trying to break through a barricade, Maria Chin Abdullah, the Bersih 2.0 chairman, was quick enough to announce publicly that the organiser would not support anyone attempting to break through the barricade.
Judging from the placards and banners during Bersih 4, the protesters had also showed that they understood the aims of the rally.
The strengths of Bersih 4 this time around goes beyond the numbers or the racial composition.
You can tell it is a non-politically motivated protest. And added to this, it has grown into a mature movement.
All of the participating Malaysians came with the same message to the government, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
For those who remained sceptical about people’s power, please pay attention to what was written on the placards and banners in the hands of the young Malaysians especially.
They are asking for a better future for Malaysia; they are supporting the country and they are defending the dim democracy for not only their children and grandchildren but also yours.
This was a special and meaningful Merdeka Day for many Malaysians. Happy Merdeka, everyone!
Khoo Ying Hooi is attached with a local university. Her research interests cover the fields of civil society, social movements, protests, political participation, human rights and democratisation.