Columnist: So are Bersih T-shirts okay now?

Sinar Harian columnist Norden Mohamed noted today that the decision to allow the Bersih 2.0 rally to take place, albeit in a stadium, raises more questions than answers.

In the daily's Maaf Cakap column, Norden asks if this means that the NGO coalition for free and fair elections is no longer outlawed since the Agong granted it an audience and if this also means that charges on more than 100 nabbed in relation to Bersih 2.0 will be dropped.

NONELikewise, he wonders if supporters will now be allowed to don T-shirts and other paraphernalia related to Bersih 2.0, or if this is only possible inside the stadium.

"Wouldn't the convoy of cars carrying Bersih 2.0 supporters and those on foot heading to the stadium constitute a street demonstration?" he asked.

Also among Norden's seven concerns was whether it can be guaranteed that there will be no "third party" who could compromise the safety of the stadium rally.

"What will be the reaction of Perkasa and other anti-Bersih 2.0 parties including the silat organisations? Surely they wouldn't want to gather at another stadium. Does it mean that they will just keep quiet?"

He also questions the relevance of the stadium rally, as Bersih 2.0 could have already passed its memorandum for free and fair elections to the Agong when he granted it an audience yesterday.

Malaysiakini compares the headlines and editorials from other dailies below:

Front Page

English newspapers

New Straits Times and Star both headlined that the coalition for free and fair elections (Bersih 2.0) has agreed to take the government's offer and move the street rally on July 9 into a stadium.

Malay newspapers

Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and Sinar Harian likewise spotlighted the Bersih 2.0 compromise.

Utusan also frontpaged that police found machetes, fireworks and Molotov cocktails, stashed alongside Bersih 2.0 T-shirts, which they suspect would be used during the rally.

It also dedicated part of its front page to a photograph of police and military personnel holding a drill to train for the possibility of deployment during street protests. However, it reported that the drill has been in the works for two years now as part of the ‘blue ocean strategy' and has nothing to do with Bersih 2.0.

Editorial

New Straits Times lauds the government's 1Malaysia Housing Programme (Prima), which strengthens the housing industry by selling only to those who can comfortably pay.

Berita Harian, too, gave a glowing review of Prima, which it says helps out the sandwich class who earn too much to qualify for low cost housing, but too little to purchase a home otherwise.

Utusan said the fact that Bersih 2.0 still wants to hold a rally in a stadium shows that there are ulterior motives behind the movement, explaining that representatives could have already passed its memorandum for electoral reform to the Agong during the audience with him yesterday.