Bersih 3.0

It’s been another crazy week. Hardly had time to think of what to blog.

The Bersih 3.0 rally is just a day away. Although I would love to attend it again, whether as an observer under the Bar Council or as a participant, I will not be in the country.

In fact, I will be New York City and Washington DC to attend the annual International Trademarks Attorney (INTA) Conference. New York City is also having their own Bersih rally on the day I arrive. Unfortunately, it will be over when I arrive the city.

Anyway, to anyone attending the rally in Kuala Lumpur, stay safe. Make sure:-

1. You wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You need to run when things go wrong. Looking pretty is the last thing you want to do in a Bersih rally. But perhaps not smelling bad is something you should ensure.
2. Bring water, towel and some salt. The effect of tear gas is a bitch. It feels like having onions rubbing onto your eyeballs.

Bersih 2.0 – the moment when tear gas was fired.

3. Never resist arrest with force but you can always question why you are arrested. If you resist arrest, you can be assured that you’ll be subdued with force. Look for the Bar Council monitoring team members so that you can provide your details to them. At least there is a record that the authorities have taken you away.
4. If provoked, never retaliate. Never participate in any form of violence. It gives the authorities the reason to arrest or disperse the crowd. Make sure you bring your identity card along. It is an offence if you are unable to produce your identification to the authorities when asked.
5. I was told that tear gas will be fired once a bell is rung. If you find FRU marching towards the crowd and a bell is being rung, start moving against the wind.
6. Always think of escape routes whenever there are many people. This will avoid you being trampled when something happens.
7. Be vigilant of explosions. If you see any suspected parcels, move away and alert people or even the police. During Anwar’s trial verdict early this year, homemade bombs exploded outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court. No one was caught until today.
8. Remember that not all police personnel are bad. There are good cops and bad cops. When I was running away from tear gas during the Bersih 2.0 rally, a policeman guided me to a safe spot. I ran towards the spot but he remained at his place taking the brunt of the tear gas.
9. You sign Negaraku as if it is your last time singing it. The state of our country is getting terrible. We need to boose the moral of the Rakyat to make Malaysia a better place.

R U Ready?


With election looming, it’s time for Barisan Nasional to dish out some goodies. The latest goodie, the repeal of the Internal Security Act 1950 and the 3 emergency ordinances. Although this move is highly applaud, it still doesn’t solve many of this country’s problem. Corruption and abuse of power are still rampant.

To evaluate whether the Barisan Nasional has done well since the last election, the article by Lucius Goon published by Malaysian Insider is a good article to evaluate whether BN have done well.

SEPT 15 – If Malaysians ever needed any evidence on what sustained opposition and pressure from the public can achieve, they need not wonder any more.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the ISA would be repealed, that the laws of assembly would be changed, that the three proclamations of Emergency will be repealed, etc. This is indeed a welcome move and as expected the PM will claim credit and say that it shows that he is a reformer.

Let’s not forget Malaysians, today came about only because Najib is desperate. He knows he has lost middle Malaysia because of his administration’s flip-flops, corruption, the antics of the First Family and the right-wing bent of Umno politicians.

It is akin to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi trying to reform the judiciary and set up the MACC (we know how that turned out) after the major reverses of 2008. He too only moved after the voters gave him a whack.

It does seem that our Umno leaders will only give us what we want and deserve when they have no more options. This is hardly surprising because reform and Umno do not exist in the same planet.

Tomorrow’s headlines in the mainstream media will be effusive and over the top.

The sycophants will call Najib Bapa Transformasi or Bapa Reformasi but I invite Malaysians to ponder on the role all of us especially the brave men and women of Bersih 2.0 played in forcing Najib to go down a path he never intended to go.

I also urge Malaysians to remember what has not changed and what can never be changed:

1) Bersih was declared an illegal organisation and six Parti Sosialis Malaysia politicians were detained unfairly and yet the government has not had the decency to apologise for its overreaction. Basically Malaysians were treated like criminals.

2) Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa have been given a free reign by Najib to push Malaysia to the right.

3) This is the administration which has reneged on its word on liberalising the economy. Instead, Najib is allowing Umno/crony capitalists to once again grab a share of big projects like the MRT, LRT.

4) Nothing is sacred anymore. Now our history is being changed to suit Umno’s current worldview. All because Mat Sabu said that Mat Indera was a hero for attacking a police post manned by British.

He was accused of supporting communists and then Umno-friendly academics said that British were friendly parties because Malaya was not colonised!!! History was turned on its head by liars who will say and do anything to stay in power.

5) Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbaini died under mysterious circumstances while in MACC buildings. Lawyer Shafee Abdullah would like us to believe that Sarbaini went on to the ledge for fun and then fell to his death. But we know better.

6) This is the administration which bullied its way to power in Perak, usupring power which the people gave to Pakatan Rakyat. Legal precedents were thrown out and the crooks were installed as the government.

7) This is the government where Umno types get 30 per cent commission on defence deals. This is what a Wikileaks cable said.

8) This is a government where the rights of Christians have been trampled on. I am not only talking about the Allah case but also the Alkitab issue.

9) This is also the government where a chief minister continues to lord over the state despite heaps of evidence of corruption and abuse of power.

So today belongs to Malaysians who have not flinched at the threats of the government and who have pressured Najib the reluctant reformer.

If you want a better Malaysia, you have to fight for it. The government only responds when we don’t buckle.

My assignment of this advertorial tasked me to write an article on the importance of voting. You can check the article at the R U Ready page at at this link. Please share it with your friends.

Also, please LIKE the page and join the Music Video contest that is running at this link.

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Remember to register to vote and Undilah in the next election!

Bersih Rally – Twitter Updates

I tweeted live from the ground during the Bersih 2.0 rally. I even posted pictures from the event. Some friends were following the event through my tweets and many retweeted my tweets. It gave me extra 2000 unique hits and 50 new Twitter followers all of a sudden.

Here are some of the tweets and pictures that I posted. The tweets below have been edited for accuracy purposes.

LRT Stations are open and trains are working
– 10:01AM

Police present heavy at Masjid Jamek stop
– 10:16AM

Roads are empty infront of Bar Council #Bersih police r everywhere

– 10:26AM

Drinking tea at a mamak behind Central Market. Filled wif police and SB. Safest place to be now I guess.
– 10:55AM

@HRDipendra said if u r infront of a FRU truck n u hear a bell,start running bcause tats a sign tat they will b launchin tear gasses #Bersih
– 10:57AM

Australia #Bersih rally flyer!

– 11:40AM

BC: As at 1140am, 238 arrested. Hang Tuah, Mahajalela, KTM st closed.Police checkin restaurants @ Brickfields
– 11:50AM

Melbourne #Bersih rally. Apparently 1K people attended.

– 11:50AM

Police presence heavy at Pasar Seni station. Many ppl standin by d roadside of Chinatown


Police at Central Market. Saw them checking ICs of pedestrians

– 12:17PM

Massive crowd has reached Dayabumi chanting Reformasi!

– 12:34PM

Tear gas fired at Dataran. Crowd running away from tear gas!

– 12:38PM

The Chinese crowd has joined the Malay crowd at Petaling Street
– 12:43PM

Petaling Street crowd now

– 12:47PM

Crowd moving towards Stadium Negara via Chinatown
– 12:48PM

Huge crowd still at the Kotaraya junction #Bersih. Many onlookers

– 1:01PM

Those who just followed me, Im part of the Bar Council Monitoring team. My role is to document the #Bersih rally

– 1:01PM

Crowd congregating at d junction to Stadium Negara at Chinatown

– 1:02PM

Crowd moving out from Chinatown

– 1:08PM

Crowd is massive! I’m standin at d same place for 10 minutes n the crowd hasnt finish passin me yet!
– 1:08PM

Someone shouted, “Join the group! Fast! Don’t split!”.
– 1:19PM

Part of the #Bersih crowd in front of Menara Maybank

– 1:28PM

Crowd chantin Hidup Bersih! Hidup Kuning!

– 1:29PM

Crowd getting bigger at Maybank! Saw a new group joining the Maybank Crowd!!
– 1:30PM

Crowd has gone bigger. Bunch of tudong ladies just walked into the crowd

– 1:37PM

FRU sprays water on crowd. Crowd moving back!!
– 1:39PM

FRU shot tear gas into crowd! Had to run!! #Bersih nose feeling abit itchy now.
– 1:42PM

Offered some salt to those who got gassed. Police shot tear gas after some ppl attacked d FRU truck
– 1:46PM

Fish! Tear gas got to me. Eyes stinging. When the tear gasses were shot, some policemen guided us to a place to run
– 1:49PM

Crowd moving back to Pudu after being tear gassed
– 1:54PM

Saw a group of police running towards the crowd! May be arresting people now at Pudu. RUN!!
– 2:00PM

Police arresting those in yellow. #Bersih. Raining now. The sky weeps for Malaysia
– 2:02PM

Chaos in the city. Throngs in yellow arrested. Tear gas fired.
– 2:21PM

I stood wif d police when d shot d tear gas. D wind blew the gas back to d police. I had to run again
– 2:26PM

Those whose frens r arrested at Pudu, they may be brought to Jln Stadium police station.
– 2:29PM

Saw police running towards the crowd. More arrest will be made. This is hell.
– 2:31PM

Hentian Pudu is empty now

– 2:39PM

Heard news FRU r shooting tear gas into the vicinity of Tung Shin hospital
– 2:44PM

Crowd broken into various parts. But many heading to Stadium Negara
– 2:57PM

Crowd booing TV3 reporter! Chanting PENIPU!
– 3:00PM

Crowd infront of Stadium Bola Keranjang near Stadium Merdeka. Booing TV3 reporters.

– 3:07PM

My legs r cramped n I’m all wet.But it’s all gud wen random ppl come n say “Hidup BarCouncil” n “U guys did a good job policin d police”
– 3:17PM

Crowd is back at Chinatown again. Moving towards Central Market.

– 3:27PM

Note to self in next rallies. Wear loose pants. Can’t climb anything when pants r tight.
– 3:28PM

Crowd changed directions. Now moving towards the Chinese Assembly Hall
– 3:35PM

Crowd chilling in front of Chinese Assembly Hall. #Bersih No idea where to next.
– 3:48PM

Saw @JonsonChong, ex PKR Information Chief. One female lawyer calls him Mr. Yau Ying Lawyer.
– 3:51PM

Saw someone wearing Digi yellow tshirt. Free advertisement for them
– 3:56PM

Part of #Bersih crowd at Chinatown. No idea what is happening next. Is it over?

– 4:01PM

Crowd is dispersing. They made their point.
– 4:06PM

Police disperses crowd at Chinese Assembly Hall
– 4:10PM

Police n FRU marching towards Masjid Negara

– 4:15PM

Police did a cry to disperse at Chinese Assembly Hall and then disperse.
– 4:22PM

RT @7icia: RT @laychkoh: Peeps in London getting ready

Credits to @laychkoh
– 6:40PM

Brisbane #Bersih . Approximate 20 ppl attended. Is that all u can do Brisbane??

– 10/7/11 12:29AM

Lastly, here’s a video of the event. You can see me at 4:04.

I teared after watching this video. Must be the effect of tear gas.

Bersih 2.0 – 9.7.2011 – In the eyes of an observer

When the Bar Council issued a request for lawyers to assist in the monitoring team, I was interested to assist. When 3 of my colleagues, Himah, Jack and Dymphna signed up, I immediately joined them.

The team’s role is quite simple. We are required to document the event and assist those arrested by obtaining their details so that we can forward the details to Bar Council for further assistance. To put in this way, medics are there to attend to the poor while the lawyers are there to attend to those arrested.

Bersih 2.0 Rally is a rally organised by Bersih which comprises of civil society organisations and political parties with the objective of campaigning for clean and fair elections in Malaysia. The rally calls for 8 points namely:-

1. Clean the electoral roll
2. Reform postal ballot
3. Use of indelible ink
4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
5. Free and fair access to media
6. Strengthen public institutions
7. Stop corruption
8. Stop dirty politics

During the past 2 weeks, many things happened. Many people were arrested, Bersih was declared an illegal society and those in yellow attire were arrested. The Agong called for Government and Bersih to meet. Chairperson of Bersih and former President of Bar Council, Ambiga met the Agong and the Agong allowed the rally be held in a stadium. However, no permit was granted for the rally and request to use the National Stadium was denied.

This led to the rally being held in the city of Kuala Lumpur. Soon, the roads leading to Kuala Lumpur were blocked by Saturday midnight. However, the trains services were available.

My colleagues and I were scheduled to meet the Bar Council monitoring team at 10am hence to avoid from being stuck in a jam to the city, we decided to pull a night at DoubleTree Hotel. We got a very good rate hence the four of us shared a room.

The roads of Kuala Lumpur were empty when we arrived at Bar Council. Many roads were closed. We took the train and stopped at Masjid Jamek. Police presence was heavy there.

Wanted to plank on the streets but had no balls to.

We were regularly updated by the Bar Council on the latest events.

Dymphna and I were stationed at Jalan Tun H.S Lee. As soon as we arrived at Jalan Tun H.S Lee, we saw numerous police trucks and personnel.



Saw some people being detained in this Black Maria.

Few minutes later, it was reported that a crowd of 1,000 people were matching from KL Sentral towards Central Market.

As an observer, we are allowed to roam into the police’s territory. The police was nice to us. We are not allowed to take part in the procession or even make statements to the press.

When the crowd arrived, they were chanting “REFORMASI! The crowd was predominantly Malay. The road in front of Central Market was blocked hence they moved to Dataran Merdeka.

The crowd of 1,000

We returned to our station. I could see the crowd from far.

Suddenly, the police shot tear gas onto the crowd and the crowd started running towards us. We had to run as well!

As the gas was shot some distance away, the effect on us was little. But I could smell ammonia.

Some came prepared

The crowd moved towards Petaling Street (Chinatown) and was soon joined by the Chinese crowd from Petaling Street. Someone on twitter said that the Indians were still hungover.

Soon, the crowd swelled in Chinatown. It was so huge that it took more than 10 minutes for the crowd to pass me. It was peaceful and like a carnival.

Some were carrying flowers.

Balloons were thrown around.

Some people took pictures as if they were attending a party. The crowd was multiracial.

When the crowd moved to Hentian Pudu, the drama started. It was a joyful and loud crowd. It soon grew bigger when it was joined by another massive crowd. It was so huge that I couldn’t see the end. Certainly more than 6,000 people, the number claimed by the police.

We stood by the hillside of Menara Maybank and a good view of the crowd. The chants and roars were so loud that it gave me goose bumps. It brought people of all races together. It was unity of all the races. No multi-million dollars 1Malaysia project can bring Malaysians to this level.

Suddenly, a FRU truck sprayed water at the crowd. I could see one person trying to restrain the crowd from retaliating.

This person was carrying a Malaysian flag. Berita Minggu said that he carried a knife.

But soon, a group of people attacked the truck and that is when the police fired tear gas on to the crowd again.

We immediately ran for cover. A policeman guided us out from the building. He didn’t leave although the gas was heading towards him. I am grateful for his help.

My eyes started to tear. I washed my face with mineral water and offered salt to anyone who needs it. But I wasn’t the only one with salt, many people were offering each other with salt, water or any form of help.

The effect to my eyes after being tear gassed is like having onion rubbed into my eyes. I couldn’t stop crying. Breathing was difficult too.

Even a monk was caught in the melee

We rested at the back lane of Menara Maybank for a while and went back to Hentian Pudu again. The crowd got pushed behind. A group of police then rushed towards the crowd and I heard one policeman shouting, “Catch those in yellow!”. People started running and I saw some people jumping off cliffs to escape.

Some people were pushed to the ground and are tied with plastic

We immediately offered assistance those who were arrested and took down their names to be forwarded to the Bar Council to assist them later. The police allowed us to do so without any interruptions.

Those arrested

We thought it will be safe with the police but when they started firing tear gas again, the wind blew and the gas hit us. We had to run again!

Fortunately, it started to rain heavily. The sky was crying for Malaysia.

Hentian Pudu was empty

We rested at Menara Maybank for a while. We bumped into some other volunteer lawyers and we gathered to move to Stadium Negara. Many of us lost our group members.

Soon, we were joined by more lawyers and moved towards Stadium Negara. At this time. I heard news of people being stuck in Tung Shin Hospital and tear gas was fired into the hospital.

Just as I thought the crowd died down, the crowd at Stadium Negara was massive. They were moving towards Chinese Assembly Hall.

Many shops were closed but KK Super Market opened its doors.

I bet this ice cream seller’s sales shot up to 1000%. I also bet he prays for a rally every day.

The crowd allowed a taxi to go through. What violence?

TV3 reporters being booed by the crowd. At one point, they chanted, “PENIPU (Liar)”.

Smart way to move.

After being with the crowd for a while, I realize that these people were just like us. Some were students, professionals, employees, businessmen and housewives. Anyone can be a part of this rally. Even though many of the organisers of Bersih were arrested, the rally went on. Some people travelled into the city without any knowledge of the actual plan.

Photographers found a good spot to take pictures


By 4pm, the crowd started to dispersed at Chinese Assembly Hall. The police suddenly appeared and chased after the crowd and the crowd ran helter-skelter. The lawyers stayed on to witness the attack.

We then followed the police and minutes later, we witnessed their cry of disperse. It was all over for us.

We went back to the Bar Council for debriefing.

Over 1,400 people were arrested (later released) and 2 people died. One from breathing difficulty and another one from being hit by a tear gas canister. RIP.

In the end of the day, I was tear gassed, all wet, had legs cramp and sun burn. But it was all good when random people came up to me to shouting “Hidup Bar Council!” and “You guys did a good job policing the police!”.

I am proud to have served the civil society. A change is all we need.

Note: This post does not represent the views of the Bar Council or its monitoring team. All views and errors are mine.