KUCHING: Earlier this month, Kuching took pride in being declared the world’s first City of Unity by highlighting the prosperity and harmony of the city folk as an important asset in its recipe for success.
Even before August has passed, and when all the people are in a joyful mood to usher in National Day 2015, the proposed Bersih 4.0 rally threatens to bring about uncertainty, concern and a thousand and one possibilities.
The question now is whether this City of Unity can allow itself to be robbed of its harmony by allowing a gathering that has had no record of having been ‘clean’ thus far from going ahead.
Gathering purely to champion their own cause on the pretext of highlighting human rights without regard for the rights of others, what more the voice of the majority, is contrary to the culture of Malaysians.
The malady that was seen only in the federal capital over the years has begun to fester in Sabah and Sarawak, now that the non-governmental organisation claiming to be ‘Bersih’ are planning the Bersih 4.0 gathering on August 29 simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
The concern of the people here is reflected through Lt Col (Rtd) Saiful Anwar Md Ali, senior lecturer at the Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies at Universiti Teknologi Mara Sarawak, who thinks that the channel used by the group to convey its message is wrong altogether.
He said the government had not shut the door to any formal discussion and it was always open to the people exercising their right to express their views on any issue, and the government was ready to listen to them through the proper channels.
He said the outcome of the gathering would only cause uncertainty in public order, besides giving the country a bad name in the eyes of the world.
“This is exactly the goal of Bersih. When these things happen, other countries will take the opportunity to interfere in the internal affairs of our country on the grounds of humanitarian policies and human rights. Finally, our sovereignty will be at stake,” he told Bernama.
Saiful Anwar advised the people not to be influenced by the NGOs inviting them to attend the rally because it did not bring any benefit or meaning whatsoever, but only the possibility of adverse outcomes.
Saiful Anwar saw the choice of August 29 as deliberate, saying it was solely for the purpose of putting a damper on the spirit of the people who were getting ready to celebrate the National Day.
He said Bersih was merely a group of NGOs holding a gathering without the blessings of the majority, and was neither credible nor legitimate.
He referred to the statement of Home Ministry secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim yesterday confirming that Bersih 4.0 was operating illegally, spreading propaganda to incite the people for negative purposes as well as causing anxiety and raising concern among Malaysians of all races, religions and ethnicity.
Last Monday, Sarawak Police commissioner Muhammad Sabtu Osman also issued a statement advising the people against joining the rally.
1Malaysia Foundation chairman Dr Chandra Muzaffar, who was instrumental in Kuching being declared the City of Unity, had also voiced concern over the possibility of individuals and groups just waiting to exploit the planned street protest to create chaos and violence.
Surely he is concerned about the harmony in this City of Unity. How about the residents of Kuching themselves?