Time for Yellow Shirt clowns, Bersih demos to cease

 |Nov 20, 2016
Like Bersih 4, Bersih 5 was pre-dominantly Chinese anti-government street demonstration.
Like Bersih 4, Bersih 5 was pre-dominantly Chinese anti-government street demonstration.

The fifth edition of Bersih street demonstration was propagated with much hyped pre-publicity stunts.

But on its D-Day on Saturday Nov 19, 2016, it turned out to be a fiasco, miserably.

Bersih 5 fizzled out without any fireworks and failed to achieve its main objective.

The Yellow Shirts funfair was held to topple a legitimately appointed prime minister and his constitutionally-elected federal government.

But on Sunday, Prime Minister Najib Razak was still in the office, and even looked stronger politically than before.

The only thing that happened was that Pribumi chairman Mahathir Mohamad and his men managed to hijack yellow fest and turned it into their own political barony.

After observing the Yellow Shirt mess cock-up, one shall pray that Bersih 5 should be last of this unwarranted yellow fest.

It has been a complete nonsense and nuisance, causing disruption to peace and harmony, and businesses.

Like Bersih 4, Bersih 5 was pre-dominantly a Chinese affair, with pockets of Indians, Malays and others.

Surely Malay support is no more there for Bersih to take for granted.

After five editions, Bersih has achieved nothing except deluding the naïve anti-government lay public to wear yellow shirts and swarm the capital city once a year.

All these are done for certain politicians and political parties to grab and enjoy power by hoodwinking unwitting laymen and women.

Many are curious on whether the Yellow Shirt demonstrations were organised to solicit funds, notably from foreign funders, and to sell brand Bersih merchandise?

Isn’t it time for Bersih to close shop and stop misusing the people?

Bersih 5 was Mahathir’s project

Events at end of Saturday showed that Mahathir was indeed the orchestrator of Bersih 5.

From morning the Yellow Shirts gathered all over the city as they thought they would confront the Red Shirts in the other corner.

But the Red Shirts were strategically placed in the city only to fetter the Yellow Shirts psychologically.

Strong police presence was in the city to ensure no untoward incidents among protestors.

Whether it was a deliberate collective strategy or coincidence, the police and Red Shirts managed to confuse and stupefy the Yellow Shirts.

From one point, where they had first gathered, the Yellow revellers tried to walk to another location without actually having any sense of direction, let alone knowing their destination.

They were clueless and headless, as many Yellow Shirt leaders had been detained a day prior to the yellow fest.

Ambiga was there. But she failed to lift the dispirited crowd, which was wearing down as time goes by.

So who was the band conductor? Mahathir of course, have no doubt about it.

The moment rumours spread that Mahathir, his son Mukhriz and Pribumi president Muhyiddin Yassin would attend the protest, the Yellow Shirt crowd was abuzz with anticipation that their presence at last had something meaningful.

A message that went viral through the cyber world rallied all Yellow Shirts to walk to KLCC for a grand finale.

Prior to the message, Mahathir has just arrived at KLCC.

The Yellow Shirt community heeded to the call and walked from all over the city to KLCC, where they heard rhetoric anti-government political tirades from their leaders, and went back home.

Pribumi chairman Mahathir Mohamad (right) came with his men and hijacked Bersih 5.
Pribumi chairman Mahathir Mohamad (right) came with his men and hijacked Bersih 5.

Anti-Najib Plots

For past two years, he has explored and plotted so many strategies to overthrow Najib and replace him with a puppet prime minister before Mukhriz was ready to take over.

He tried to use 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation as major issues to finish off Najib, and said to have tried to use a charge sheet and an arrest warrant to oust Najib. He failed miserably.

He attempted to push for a motion for vote of confidence against Najib leadership at the Parliament and Umno general assembly, failed.

He came out from Umno and forged a grand alliance with his former political enemies like Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang, and declared a ‘Citizen Declaration’.

He formed his own party, Pribumi, and now wants to lead the opposition pact, Pakatan Harapan.

He plans to tie up with PAS as well in a separate political grouping, as the Islamist party had made it clear that it was not willing to sit in any political pact together with the Chinese-dominant DAP.

Mahathir wants the opposition to go for a straight one-on-one fight with Barisan Nasional in next general election, which is not far away.

To show that he still got the political clout and strength, hence Bersih 5 and his arrival after earlier allegedly feigning about travelling abroad.

Mahathir has cleverly manipulated Pakatan Harapan and staunch anti-establishment enthusiasts to conduct the Yellow Shirt street show.

After the show, the Yellow Shirts may have or may not have realised that they had been used and misused to fulfill Mahathir’s political agenda.

One however, can’t expect the Yellow Shirts to be able to think maturely and discern between reform agenda and political agenda.

For, if they could think wisely and gauge what was right and what was wrong, they would not have entertained the idea to be Yellow Shirts in the first place.

Yellow Shirts walking to KLCC.
Yellow Shirts walking to KLCC.

Yellow Shirt Clowns

The Yellow Shirts may have started the day with high spirits thinking that they were going to remove a sitting prime minister.

At end of the day, they would have returned home wondering why they were wandering all over the streets of Kuala Lumpur for the whole day, and nothing happened.

Of course they would hide their disappointment and veil their blunder.

These Yellow Shirts would continue to justify their street demonstration and boast that they had fulfilled their citizenry responsibility to uphold rule of law, social justice, democracy, blah blah.

They will also point to the constitution to uphold their right to demonstrate, but would make no reference to their citizenry responsibility to exercise this right correctly.

During the demonstration, one could sense that many ill-informed Bersih roisterers attended it for different reasons.

Many were simply marking their attendance for political reasons and some were there for glamour sake to stay relevant with their peers.

They would take the trendy selfies and wefies, update their social media status to inform their friends “we are here.”

Apart from that, the Yellow Shirts simply did not know what to do and why they were there.

Politicians as usual had tried to uplift their spirits, claiming that the demonstration was a major success and a historical event.

The politicians tried to instill in the minds of the Yellow Shirts that they were part of a history making event.

Back home, the Yellow Shirts would have been “proud of themselves that they had achieved something”.

But the problem is they could not figure out what they had achieved.

In long run however, they would realise that they had been used like a political clowns by politicians for selfish agenda.

The next question, should there be Bersih 6?

Well, if the clowns in Yellow Shirts finally come to their senses, Bersih should close shop.

The anti-climax Bersih 5 should be the Yellow Shirts last street demonstration.

It’s time to cease the sickening sight of the yellow street fest.

Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.