Saturday 10 September 2011

PM’s blame game — The Malaysian Insider

September 10, 2011
SEPT 10 — So far the only people not blamed for the mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally are Al-Qaeda, Chin Peng, Kermit the Frog and Ayah Pin.

You get the drift, right. It seems that the order to turn Kuala Lumpur into a war zone and treat ordinary Malaysians like criminals was everybody’s fault but that of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In the short time following the rally on July 9, Najib’s operatives and aides spent considerable time convincing journalists and pundits that he was all for offering Bersih organisers the use of a stadium but was persuaded otherwise by

a) Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein;
b) Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim;
c) Deputy IGP Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar;
d) Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa; and
e) Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhiyiddin Yassin

Basically, Najib’s people wanted to create a moat between him and the fallout from the mishandling of Bersih. So he was the good guy who was wrongly advised by the hardliners. In essence, the PM, they argued, is a reformer and a centrist.

But it is all these hawks who convinced him that the rally goers would take over Stadium Merdeka and squat there for weeks and force his government down.

Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon’s decision to blame the police for the mishandling of July 9 should be seen as an expansion of this blame game. Now, it is the police alone who acted unilaterally in using force to crack down on Bersih rally goers, including arresting six Parti Sosialis Malaysia party officials on trumped up charges of waging war against the King.

What Najib’s spin-doctors and Tsu Koon don’t realise is that blaming everyone for the mistakes on July 9 only serves to weaken Najib in the eyes of Malaysians.

We want our leaders to be decisive, to be principled and not to be easily persuaded by scaremongers or right-wing elements.

We also don’t mind if our leaders make a few mistakes along the way but be honest enough to offer a mea culpa.

But what is distasteful is to either leave important decisions such as the use of force to the whims and fancies of the police or be easily persuaded by right-wing ministers and the police on the crackdown and then turn around after everything goes awry and point fingers elsewhere.

This blame game is hurting Najib more than anyone else. The buck should stop with the PM.

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