‘Yellow wave’ in Parliament by Pakatan reps
Pakatan Rakyat MPs turned up in Parliament decked out in various articles in the distinctive yellow of Bersih to protest the police clampdown on the electoral reform rally.
Most of the men sported ties in the ‘official’ Bersih 2.0 colour or others in shades of yellow, while the women were attired in yellow.
The rest wore various articles of clothing in the same colour, while those more daring like Bukit Gantang parliamentarian Nizar Jamaluddin and Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa donned the official Bersih 2.0 T-shirt, which has caused the arrest of many since the crackdown began, in open defiance.
At a press conference in the parliament lobby today, the MPs stood in solidarity with Bersih and the rakyat’s wishes for free and fair elections, condemning the unilateral and as some argued, illegal and unconstitutional crackdown on the hugely popular rally.
“It is outrageous, we have a home minister who is making up the law on the run,” said DAP Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang (in dark glasses), commenting on the recent outlawing of the distinctive yellow Bersih 2.0 T-shirts and other supporting paraphernalia by police and the ministry.
PAS’ Hatta Ramli called the police crackdown on the Bersih rally as an act of intimidation.
While Tian Chua from PKR reiterated the claim that the actions taken by law enforcement officers against Bersih activists is outside the bounds of the law.
His view is supporterd by Subang MP R Sivarasa, who pointed out that even in the “draconian” law that is the Internal Security Act, collaterals and paraphernalia can only be “proscribed” by authorities if it is gazetted first.
Sivarasa contested that no such gazetting ever took place prior to the authorities sudden ban on Bersih 2.0 materials.
In a statement to the media afterwards, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok explained that the specific provisions in the ISA that allow for the government to proscribe paraphernalia is Section 7(2)(1) for the prohibitions of uniforms, emblems and others.
“Hishammuddin’s declaration is illegal, unreasonable, arbitrary and smacks of abuse of power,” she added.
Also at the press conference, DAP Jelutong MP Karpal Singh said that there is no doubt in his mind that legal action can be taken against the cops and the government for their errant behaviour and Pakatan will initiate legal proceedings in due course.
The Pakatan MPs’ reaction came in the footsteps of strident police action against Bersih 2.0 activists after the rally and all its supporting paraphernalia were declared illegal by the Home Ministry.
Police have since moved against any who were in possession of such paraphernalia or attending functions promoting Bersih.
Over a hundred have been arrested thus far for wearing the distinctive yellow T-shirts or taking part in roadshows which promote the rally pushing for electoral reforms.
Dozens of other, including opposition state assemblypersons and members of Parliament have been called in for questioning over the mammoth rally planned for July 9.
The opposition has expressed fears that the government will use what they believe are made-up concerns for public order and safety as a pretext to come down hard and arrest top opposition leaders.
Several foreign activists and observers were also arrested, with two to be deported by authorities for allegedly being involved in planning the Bersih rally.
Sungai Siput MP D Jeyakumar of PSM and 30 party activists, on an unrelated roadshow to discuss the rakyat’s concerns, have also been arrested in Penang, accused of “waging war against the king” for being in possession of T-shirts bearing the likeness of former communist figures.