KUCHING - There has never been in the history of the state that a colour has caused so much controversy. Yellow is certainly the color of the month, a color that has been so talked about.
The opposition parties here, the DAP and the PKR, are going all out to show their support for the Bersih movement because they believe in the need to fight for a just and fair general election.
And while the police are warning the people not to wear this colour on Saturday, supporters of Bersih and Pakatan are saying, don anything that is yellow to show support for Bersih, an elections watchdog body that is championing the cause for a free and fair election.
Police action: Even talking about Bersih is disallowed
In Kuching, OCPD Mun Kock Keong said he is fully prepared for any eventuality. He is all ready to get anyone who breaks the law and according to him, that would include anyone or group wearing yellow and talking. Talking? Yes, even talking, Mun confirmed. Anyone talking about Bersih or holding any banner with the word ‘Bersih’ will be arrested as it is an outlawed society.
If a person is wearing yellow and caught distributing something illegal connected with Bersih, Mun is all ready to arrest him too. If an aunty is going marketing, she would be watched with caution. If two or three or four start wearing yellow gathering in groups and chatting, he is also ready to find out what they are talking about and 'get' them if it is about the outlawed Bersih.
According to Mun, police have to ensure that the city is orderly and there is no illegal assembly. Gathering together and speaking to the public will require a permit, he warned. Miri OCPD, ACP Jamaluddin Ibrahim too added to antii-Bersih rhetoric, warning that those found wearing yellow would be "scrutinized".
Breakfast with the DAP in yellow
Bu to MP for Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen who is also DAP state secretary-general, that was the most idiotic advice given by authority.
“What is wrong with yellow? It is the fashion color at the moment. All our state ADUN members will be wearing yellow and having breakfast at Stutong coffee shop at 8.30 am socializing with the people this Saturday and I welcome all to meet us, in yellow or otherwise,” he said.
Chong said the 12 DAP assemblymen would be at the Stutong for about an hour before breaking into four groups, after which they will proceed to BDC, Tabuan Jaya, King Centre and Stutong market to do voting registration. “We are all for a fair and just election,” he said.
PKR ready for action
PKR state assemblyman for Batu Lintang, See Chee How was baffled at the warning issued by the police. “This is ridiculous and overzealous attitude of the force. There is no such thing as illegal wearing a yellow shirt. What if that is the favourite color of some people,” he said.
See said the PKR has a team of legal advisers ready to defend anyone who wear yellow and is arrested or charged. He said they are ready to sue the government for malicious prosecution. This Saturday, PKR Kuching will be wearing yellow in their premises and members and friends of PKR also plan to mingle in town and shopping malls wearing yellow.
Calling to everone to wear or sport something yellow, See said this was to show support for free and fair elections.
On wearing the Bersih shirt and getting arrested, See said it was a "grey" area.
However, one officer who had a reasonable view was Sarawak Deputy Police commissioner, Law Hong Soon. Law advised the people not to wear the Bersih t-shirt but donning yellow is not an offence.
“There is nothing wrong. It is up to the taste of the people but of course this group should not have anything to do with Bersih. If they want to wear yellow to the market or to the shopping complex, it is up to them,” he said.
Coming to a head
It would appear that both the police and the opposition parties here are not about to give in on the issue.
The police, on one hand, are going all out to take executive action on anyone wearing yellow, and congregating in groups, based on the somewhat ridiculous assumption that they are conducting an illegal gathering.
The opposition parties, their ADUNs, members, as well as supporters are going all out to challenge the authorities, insisting that their support for Bersih is right and legal.
All said, things are really heating up and it would be most interesting to see what will happen come Saturday.
- Malaysia Chronicle