IT was reported that up to 200,000 people took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur during the weekend for the Bersih 4 rally.
What a relief that things went peacefully.
There were no riots or physical confrontation between the security forces and the protestors like what had happened during the past three rallies.
Imagine the chaos if 200,000 people were to be sent into a frenzy because of instigations and provocations.
All credit to the police for keeping a calm presence this time around at the rally gatherings.
The Bersih 4 event was featured as one of the top global headline news on Saturday by global news network CNN. Its headline was very glaring and direct, stating that there were massive street protests against the government.
BBC also featured the Bersih 4 prominently, so too other worldwide news agencies.
A foreign news commentator said that “Malaysians had come of age” and that they would no longer allow themselves to be gagged when it came to protesting against abuse of power and corrupt practices.
That foreign newsman was featured standing in the midst of a sea of protestors donning yellow T-shirts in the streets of KL.
What he said might sound blunt but I think there are elements of truth in his comments.
Indeed, the very large presence of people taking part in Bersih 4 shows that the voices of dissent among Malaysians are growing louder.
They will no longer be gagged from speaking their mind over issues of concern affecting society.
Our government leaders and politicians need to respect the fact that the rakyat have a right to air their grouses – of course this must be done in a manner that does not jeopardise peace and security.
Bersih 4 in KL has set a new benchmark.
However, across the South China Sea in Sarawak, disagreements between the various parties involved in staging Bersih 4 in Kuching city had marred the event.
The Sarawak DAP had verbally criticised the key figures organising the stage programmes for doing a poor job.
“I am very disappointed with the poorly organised rally in Kuching. The rally was called off only after nine hours. The ones in KL and Kota Kinabalu lasted 34 hours,” state DAP secretary Alan Ling told the press in Miri upon his return from Kuching.
“There were many people from Miri, Bintulu and Sibu who went to Kuching just to take part. DAP even hired two buses from Miri to Kuching for the event.”
Ling said he also travelled from Miri to Kuching by bus.
“However, due to the short rally, the outstation participants had nowhere to gather and had to search for budget hotels to stay.
“Even the PA system was in a mess. The poor facilities had caused inability to deliver good and effective speeches,” he added.
Ling, who is state assemblyman for Piasau, said the Bersih 4 rally in Kuching had failed to deliver any clear messages to the government on the need for better governance.
Well, maybe it is because Sarawakians are not yet as “experienced” as their friends in the Klang Valley when it comes to street protests.
Or more likely Sarawakians feel satisfied that the present state administration under Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem is well-managed and that Adenan himself is scandal-free.
Thus, there is no need for massive street protests in this state.
Whatever it is, it is very clear that as far as the peninsula is concerned, street protests have become a reality of life.