There is no doubt that the people have won in this round against the establishment. Indeed for supporters of the Bersiih July 9 rally, victory is all the more sweet because those who fought for it were made to really suffer.
But MP for Sungai Siput Michael Jeyakumar and 5 other PSM members are still under remand, while scores of others have been arrested. On Monday afternoon, long after the King's statement was splashed all over the newspapers, the first arrest in Sarawak was made and PKR Youth leader Zulhaidan Suboh is still under detention.
And on Tuesday night, 40 policemen barged into a Pakatan Rakyat Bersih briefing for their members in Kota Damansara, Selangor. In Rembau, another PKR Youth leader Norliza Shamsudin was also detained for having a Bersih leaflet in her pocket.
So, friends of Pakatan and supporters of Bersih free-and-fair elections, the fight is far from over. Rejoice because an awesome war has been won but do not celebrate yet.
Those who have been defeated are not stupid. There is time yet for them to reconnoitre - to launch new and deadly missiles.
Who is in charge of what
Already, this afternoon, Perkasa chief Ibrahim has fired the first salvo. He even dared to question the King for meeting Ambiga Sreenevasan, the Bersih chief.
“Why must the Agong meet such a group? The group (led by Ambiga) is an illegal body and seeking an audience with the king should not be welcomed. It will also set a bad precedent and make a mockery of the royal institution,” Bernama reported Ibrahim as saying.
Who is giving Ibrahim so much courage? Is it Najib and Hisham? Is Muhyiddin? Is it Mahathir?
What about the police then? Who is giving them the green light to keep up the attacks?
Why did Najib agree to meet Ambiga, allow Bersih to chose their stadium, but dither over the police and the Bersih ban?
Either Najib is the root source of all the mischief or serious factional fighting has broken out in UMNO.
The mysteries go on, until the final questions, who is in charge of Malaysia? Is anyone in charge at all?
Muhyiddin stands to gain most from the madness
Pundits believe Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is the one fanning the fire. He is in his early 60s, older than Najib and keen to secure the post before he grows decrepit.
And Mahathir Mohamad is not unhappy to help Muhyiddin out, although it is not a given he will always do so. But for now, Dr M is happy to be of service because once Najib is out and Muhyiddin in, chances are the next PM to succeed Muhyiddin will be Mukhriz Mahathir.
"This is what people in UMNO are saying. Bersih is a wonderful opportunity for Muhyiddin and other groups who are against Najib to make trouble for him. They want to make him and Hisham look as stupid as possible. That is why you have this feeling of out-of-control craziness," PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar told Malaysia Chronicle.
"There is already a movement to replace Najib, because many see him as weak and cannot handle crises. If you notice, Muhyiddin is putting pressure on Najib the same way he put pressure on Abdullah Badawi. It was Muhyiddin who first created tension for Pak Lah. Not Najib. Now he is using Perkasa and the police to do the same to Najib. And Najib has only one ally left and that is Hisham. In the government, all of them including Muhyiddin give him face but at UMNO they create havoc. When they flash the Malay card, Najib has to follow. He is not strong enough to start a new direction like the New Economic Model."
Who are the Bersih supporters
The buzz amongst many in UMNO is that Najib and Hisham were scared off by the huge negative response to the Bersih crackdown. Suddenly they realized the world would blame them and not Muhyiddin or Mahathir.
"Muhyiddin is just the second man and Mahathir is retired. The buck stops with the PM and Hisham who is supposed to be in charge of the police," said Mahfuz.
This is when the cousins decided to go to the King, or so it is believed. But sadly, the rest is not history as they say. Not yet. Nothing is final yet. Until July 9 comes and goes successfully, every day is a danger day for Bersih and its supporters. Not only are they in danger of more arrests, even the King might be asked to revoke his statement.
If this happened, it would be another blow for Bersih supporters. Many are genuinely upset and boiling with Ambiga and the committee. Their grouses are genuine and deserve to be heard. For the Bersih 62 NGOs, for a movement that is alllegedly rooted in causes to benefit the people, to rush into self-defense is already an inapproportiate sign, reeking of self-importance and premature self-congratulation.
Who are the Bersih supporters - members of the 62 NGOs? How many millions are these? Or is it more accurate to say Bersih supporters are actually mostly from the Pakatan parties - PKR, PAS and DAP? And the bonus - the fence-sitters and the converts from BN.
Whether self-conceit has overtaken the Bersih organisers or not, if they do not continue to be careful, even the stadium rally mght be pulled away from them at the last moment. And by the very people they rushed to gushingly thank.
This is UMNO politics.
- Malaysia Chronicle