What Are Najib And UMNO Ministers Saying About Bersih 4 And Tun M's Surprise Appearance?

They're not very happy about Tun Mahathir's Bersih visits, that's for sure.

Cover image via SAYS / Malaysiakini

PM Najib Razak declared that the organisers and participants are "shallow and poor in patriotism and love for their motherland", lambasting them for using National Day as a "stage for political conflict"

Image via AP

"We want to celebrate independence, there are some people who want to show their feelings at the historic place in Merdeka Square.

"Don't they understand, are they that shallow and poor in their patriotism and love for their motherland? Don't they understand the country was built on the blood and sweat of our freedom fighters?

"From the era of Mat Kilau, Tok Janggut and Umno freedom fighters to our soldiers and police, who died as martyrs, because we want to ensure the independence of our country," he said when officiating the Jerantut Umno delegates' meeting on 29 August.

"Even if they want to gather, choose a time and place that will not be provocative. Whatever differences in opinion or ideology between us, National Day should not be a stage for political conflict," Najib said in an audio recording uploaded on his blog.

He said the Merdeka celebration should be a time where rakyat put aside their differences and celebrate it with patriotism.

He pointed out that national heroes who have fought for the country's independence right down to school-goers have prepared hard for the Merdeka parade.

"Would it be appropriate for this (Bersih 4) gathering to be held at the time and place so close to our Merdeka Day? Think about it," he said.

He also accused "those who wear this yellow attire" of deliberately trying to discredit the country's "good name" to the international community

Image via Reuters

"Those who wear this yellow attire, who are they, they want to discredit our good name, scribble black coal on Malaysia's face to the outside world, when in reality, this is their country because of UMNO's struggle they are successful," he said.

Later, he cited "media reports" that only an insignificant 20,000 people attended the protest while "the rest of the Malaysian population are with the government", adding that they can "gather hundreds of thousands" from FELDA settlers alone

Najib speaking at Gong Badak Stadium, Kuala Terengganu yesterday (29 August).

Image via The Star Online's YouTube

“There might have been 20,000 people at the rally, as reported by some media, but I am sure only 20,000 are a little dissatisfied. The rest of the Malaysian population are with the government,” he was quoted as saying by The Star Online.

“What is 20,000, we can gather hundreds of thousands. FELDA settlers alone could make the numbers,” he was quoted saying further.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek came to the conclusion that the Bersih 4 rally is not only intended to topple the government, they are also bent on destroying the country

Image via Istimewa

"We find that the module used by Bersih is similar to that used to topple governments Arab Spring style where there is no clear leader or organisation and social media is used.

"When the governments in Libya, Yemen fell, the people suffered and some had to flee to other countries. In the end, who was responsible (for the rallies)?

"This is what Bersih is attempting," he told reporters after launching the Selangor-level Farmers, Breeders and Fishermen's Day in Kuala Selangor.

Shabery said he was not surprised when outsiders supported Bersih 4 because they wanted to see an unstable and insecure Malaysia. He said it could not be denied that many supported the rally but, in the end, the people would suffer the consequences.

"Bersih does not bring any good to the country. It is saddening that the rally is disrupting preparations for the National Day celebration on Monday," he said.

UMNO division chief Datuk Azian Osman called on deputy PM Dato' Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to arrest participants of the "illegal assembly", adding that UMNO can assemble 200,000 people and even former PM Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to back the party too

Arrest them. It is an illegal assembly. Catch each and everyone of them,” Azian had said, adding that UMNO too could mobilise people if it wanted to.

“I’m confident we can get 200,000 to the ground. We will get Pak Lah (Tun Ahmad Badawi). It will be blue and red versus yellow,” he said in clear reference to Dr Mahathir’s appearance at the rally in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday night.

Indeed, Zahid Hamidi - who is also Home Minister - gave his word that the authorities are monitoring the situation at the rally and that action will be taken towards those who act against the law, especially the masterminds behind Bersih 4

Image via The Star Online

“The police are monitoring the people behind it. They are listening to every word that’s being uttered. We know what is happening," he said.

Zahid Hamidi said among the legal action that could be taken against them are the Peaceful Assembly Act, the Sedition Act, the Penal Code and Police Act.

He also reminded the parties concerned not to blame the authorities if action was taken against them.

"I agree with Tan Sri IGP (Khalid Abu Bakar), dare to do, dare to take responsibility. Don't accuse the authorities, especially the government of being despotic because in reality they are cruel to themselves," he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister also advised the Malays to not allow themselves to be exploited by DAP for political purposes

Image via Merdeka Online

"We (the Malays) are often challenged because they (DAP) consider us weak... So they try to put us at loggerheads with one another," he was quoted as saying when speaking at the Ipoh Timor Umno division annual meet on 30 August.

The racial composition of the rally became a focal point, when unlike previous protests, there was dismal Malay participation in Bersih 4. UMNO mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia, in its Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia, stated on its frontpage that DAP dominated Bersih 4.

Zahid also remarked on Tun Dr. Mahathir's brief appearance on the 1st day of the rally, saying that no one should support a leader who appeared at a rally "for only six minutes"

Image via The Star Online

Zahid Hamidi said Dr Mahathir’s arrival at the rally had added pressure on the police, which had to look after his safety. The Home Minister however, declined to comment whether police would take action against Dr Mahathir for his presence at the rally.

"I leave it up to the police," he said.

Speaking of Tun M, several UMNO ministers expressed their disappointment that the former premier had joined the rally last night. He was also present at the Central Market section of the rally today.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Image via The Rakyat Post

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said that even if the former premier did not see eye to eye with the country’s current leadership and the direction the nation was taking, affiliating himself with the Opposition was unacceptable and rather hypocritical.

During the demonstrations in 1998, during his administration, he clearly stated that street demonstrations were not the proper approach to voice grievances, let alone a means to bring down the government. He must be aware of the impact that the rally has on safety and the dangers if these demonstrations are left unchecked,” wrote the minister on his official Facebook page today.
Image via The Rakyat Post

“I am very disappointed that Tun M (Mahathir) turned up and ‘bersekongkol’ (collaborated) with Bersih,” newly-minted UMNO minister Datuk Seri Panglima Salleh Said Keruak told delegates at the Malay party’s Sungai Besar Umno division meeting on 29 August.

“For me, Tun Dr Mahathir’s presence at the rally shows that he agrees with Bersih and what they do. That encourages people to participate in street demonstrations. It means that he has changed his stance,” added the Communications and Multimedia minister.
Image via The Star Online

"Dr Mahathir's presence at the Bersih 4 gathering yesterday is very shocking and disappointing.

"Finally, Tun (Dr Mahathir) himself, a staunch opponent of road demonstrations is involved in one," Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is also UMNO Supreme Council member, told reporters after opening the Beluran UMNO division delegates meeting.

UMNO mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia reported that many Malays are unhappy with the former PM for appearing at Bersih 4 on 29 August, as it contradicts his previous stand on public protests

The frontpage of Utusan Malaysia on 29 August.

Image via

Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for the collective editorial team of the UMNO-mouthpiece, said that Dr Mahathir had seen a series of "illegal and wild protests" from supporters of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. He was referring to the 1998 "reformasi" period after Dr Mahathir, who was the prime minister then, sacked his deputy Anwar, triggering a wave of mass demonstrations and protests in Kuala Lumpur.

"He never backed down and in fact, had always slammed the culture of illegal assemblies despite it being seen as a movement of the people by the foreign media and by Anwar himself," Awang wrote in Mingguan Malaysia, the weekend edition of Utusan Malaysia.

"For the Bersih organisers and participants, it is seen as a sign of his support towards the rally. But all the feedback we received, especially from Malays, expresses discomfort and anger with Dr Mahathir, who had always rejected Bersih."

Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, however, does not seem fazed by the rally. In a series of tweets, he remarked on Bersih's failure to topple the ruling coalition BN and that there is more to winning elections than "donning coloured T-shirts, camping overnight or blowing vuvuzelas".

Besides being Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Rahman Dahlan is also MP of Kota Belud and Barisan Nasional's Director of Strategic Communications.

While most are condemning the Bersih 4 rally, newly-elected Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan thanked the participants of Bersih as well as the police for maintaining a peaceful demonstration

Before the rally, Nur Jazlan urged people not to take part in Bersih 4, warning that anarchists may try to create chaos to instigate police into using high-handed tactics against protesters. He said previous Bersih rallies had turned violent because politicians hijacked Bersih’s objectives of a peaceful assembly.

Bersih 4 had a pretty exciting start on Day 1. Check out the highlights:

Malaysians stationed all around the world got quite creative with their rallies too:

Keep up with the latest on-ground developments with the SAYS Bersih 4 Live Coverage

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