Criticism of Bersih 3.0 by the DAP's Tunku Aziz has surprised both sides of the political divide. (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: Criticism of the planned Bersih 3.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur by DAP vice-chairman Senator Tunku Abdul Aziz has generated some buzz in sociopolitical blogs and news portals, with pro-government bloggers lauding his view and their pro-opposition counterparts scrambling to clarify his remarks.
The Malaysian Insider, among others, reported on April 26 that Tunku Aziz was against the rally because he felt it encouraged people to break the law.
“My opposition to this kind of demonstration is — we are encouraging people to break the law and we are supposed to be lawmakers," he said.
“I am in favour of us assembling if that is not breaking the law but breaking the law is something that I cannot support,” he said.
He stated it was his personal view, and that he had informed his colleagues in DAP.
Datuk Ahirudin Attan of Rocky's Bru expressed surprise and asked, "How dare the old man openly oppose Bersih 3.0? Has he lost his marbles or has he gone over to the 'dark side'? How much did they pay him to label Ambiga and Samad Said irresponsible'?"
"In all fairness, I am sure Tunku Aziz made his point with the late Baharuddin in mind," Rocky said, referring to Burhanuddin Ahmad, who died after collapsing during the Bersih 2.0 rally last year.
"Ambiga and gang blamed the police for his death and never accepted responsibility for the death. Only last week, after The Mole's constant hounding, did Ambiga promise that the organisers of Bersih will issue a heath advisory to all protesters. That was the closest she and Pak Samad S got to assuming responsibility over Baharuddin's tragic and untimely demise," Rocky said.
"Tunku Aziz is right. If something goes terribly wrong, the tendency is to blame the authorities," he added.
Blogger Freddie Kevin praised Tunku Aziz for speaking out against the rally.
"It is indeed rare and so very refreshing that someone high in the opposition hierarchy would come out to call a spade a spade, the law is the law and no amount of spin, lies and propaganda can legitimise an unlawful act and it's consequences," Freddie wrote in his blog.
Some pro-BN blogs highlighted news articles on the DAP leader's remarks without additional commentary, with post titles such as "DAP's Tunku Abdul Aziz says against Bersih 3.0" and "Last minute! DAP rejects Bersih 3.0!"
One of those bloggers, Dr MiM, anticipated DAP's reaction to the statement, saying "I believe the statement of the DAP vice-chairman will be rejected outright by the leadership of ‘pakatan haram’ PR. Their excuse will be that the DAP vice-chairman’s statement is a personal view and doesn’t reflect the aspirations of the party."
Official PAS organ Harakah Daily put a slightly different spin on the senator's remarks, however, saying his statement was his personal view but he still supports Bersih 3.0 in spite of it.
"While I have my personal opinion, which is allowed by the party as a party that allows differences of opinion, I support the party's stand for clean, fair and free elections," Harakah quoted Tunku Aziz as saying.
Pro-opposition bloggers also stressed the senator's support for his party's overall stand regarding free and fair elections, and highlighted it with headlines such as "Tunku Aziz still supports Bersih 3.0" and "National DAP Chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz supports Bersih 3.0".