In a bid to suppress massive public support for the Black505 rallies kicked off by Anwar Ibrahim, it looks like Prime Minister Najib Razak has reverted to scare tactics and draconian measures just days after unveiling a new “transformational” Cabinet and promised to practise “the best democracy”.
Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, the PKR state assemblyman for Seri Setia, was charged in the Petaling Jaya Sessions court on Friday morning over the recently-held Kelana Jaya rally to protest fraud and irregularities in the May 5 general election.
According to his lawyer Eric Paulsen, Nik was charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act for allegedly failing to give 10 days notice to the police before the Suara Rakyat Suara Keramat or Black505 rally was held on May 8.
“The charge is an abuse of process and against public policy. The prosecution is done in bad faith, selective and politically-motivated. We will be filing an application to set aside the charge and to declare Section 9 of PAAA as unconstitutional and therefore null and void,” Eric told Malaysia Chronicle.
Landmark rally: Don’t concede defeat – Gen Y
Anwar, the Opposition Leader who had refused to concede defeat, had launched the rally to protest the electoral victory that he claims was stolen from his Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
The landmark gathering at the Kelana Jaya stadium had drawn more than 150,000 people from all walks of life, mostly young Malaysians in their 20s and 30s who came despite the short notice. Concerned about the fraud allegations, many urged Anwar not to give up or concede defeat.
“I pleaded not guilty,” Nik Nazmi tweeted out shortly after he was charged.
“Kinda like a police state right? Rule by fear, intimidation and favours,” his PKR collegue Nurul Izzah, the Lembah Pantai MP, said on her Twitter.
Nurul, Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen and DAP’s Ronnie Liu had gone to the court to show solidarity for Nik Nazmi, who is also the PKR communications chief.
“Eerie looking @ the numerous policemen, special branch officers &fru s on standby for @niknazmi s case. Reminiscent of 1998. PJ,” tweeted Nurul.
Najib fights for political survival
Apart from the landmark Kelana Jaya rally, Pakatan has held mega-rallies in Penang, Ipoh, Kuantan and Johor. Tonight, Anwar and team will be in Seremban and next week in Kedah (Tuesday, May 21), Terengganu (Thursday, May 23), Malacca (Friday, May 24).
So far, not less than 500,000 people have come to see the Pakatan leaders talk about GE13 fraud. The unprecedented public support may indeed be w
‘BN confirming their guilt’
The latest high-handed police action is also unlikely to deter the Pakatan from carrying on with their wildly-successive ‘roadshows’. Neither is it likely to stop the people, who braved the rain to see their ‘heroes’, from coming to the future rallies.
“It will only create greater public disgust and unhappiness with Najib Razak. Already the people feel he is not a legitimate prime minister and BN not a legitimate government because of the electoral cheating which many experienced first-hand for themselves, such as the indelible ink which washed out in less than an hour,” PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
“By using the police and under-handed tactics to the Black505 rallies, BN is only confirming their own guilt making things worse for themselves.”
Crackdown on organizers
Police have also hauled up the alleged organisers for Wednesday’s Black505 rally held in front of the PKR’s office in Taman Puteri Wangsa, Johor.
PKR state secretary Abdul Shukor bin Ayob and state work secretary Yuneswaran A/L Ramaraj were called up for alleged involvement in the gathering which drew a crowd of more than 60,000.
“The move to interview them over the event is an intimidation of those seeking to exercise their right to assemble in a peaceful manner,” PKR’s communications bureau had said in a statement issued on Thursday.
According to PKR officials, Nik Nazmi was charged under Section 9(1) of Peaceful Assembly Act and faces a fine of up to RM10,000 if found guilty. Lawyer Eric Paulsen is representing the 32-year-old assemblyman.
hy Prime Minister Najib Razak is moving to mow down the Pakatan’s momentum.
The 59-year-old PM, whose announcement of a new Cabinet just days ago was brushed aside by an indifferent public, seems to be in a quandry as to how to quell the uprising of popular support for his political rivals.
The Pakatan has identified 27 seats in the federal Parliament that they claim were won “dubiously”. They want a review and re-election in these seats.
But fighting for his own political survival, Najib is unlikely to agree. Most analysts expect him to use a combination of delaying and scare tactics to defuse the situation.