Khairy wants Bersih rally stopped

Andrew Ong and Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Malaysiakini)
Nov 6, 07

Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin has urged the authorities to come down hard on a planned mass rally calling for electoral reforms to be held in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 10.

“This is an illegal gathering by an illegal organisation. The authorities, particularly the police, must apprehend those who organise this gathering,” said Khairy, during his winding up speech at the Umno Youth annual general assembly today.
Khairy said that he was not against democracy or hearing from the public but stressed his opposition to the gathering was based on concerns for public safety as well as law and order.
The rally this Saturday is organised by Bersih, a coalition of about 60 NGOs and opposition parties.
They seek to rally some 100,000 people and march to the palace where a memorandum urging the King to interfere with the electoral system which is deemed to be rigged.
‘Don’t act like monkeys’
Khairy said it was hypocritical for opposition parties to hold the rally because they had previously contested in several polls under the same system.
“They claim that electoral process is not clean. Then why contest in 2004 (general election)? They boycotted Batu Talam (by-election), but they contested (later) in Machap and Ijok (by-elections).
“Don’t be like monkeys (beruk) on streets. If you want to fight, fight in the real ring like a man. During the general elections, we (Umno Youth) will fight and we will win!” exclaimed Khairy to roaring chants of approval from delegates.
Khairy added that Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein could rally as many youth wing members to face those at the Bersih rally.
“But, brothers. This is not the proper way. That is not the way taught by Hishammuddin. If we face them, we could spark a uneasy situation.
“It’s bad enough that they gather and cause inconvenience to the public. If we face them, it would cause a confrontation that can cause chaos (huru hara),” he added.
Khairy was later approached by journalists after the event and asked why it was okay for him to choose street demonstration to protest American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Malaysia, he simply said they had a permit.
“The police were there, the FRU were there and we adhered to all laws pertaining to public assembly,” he reasoned.
Hisham undecided
He also said that Umno Youth believes in free and fair elections and said that it would be an insult if the party is to win elections with their opposition “tied down”.
“We are strong enough and we do not need to tamper with the Elections Commission or the elections’ legal framework to be victorious.” said the premier’s son-in-law.
Both Khairy and Hishammudin Hussein, who was also approached by journalists, expressed satisfaction with the Umno Youth wing’s assembly and said that the issues addressed by delegates reflected the maturity of the party’s youth component.
Hishammudin, when asked, said that he will wait until the general election is over before he decides if he wants to hold on to the Umno Youth chief post.