By Anisah Shukry
KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Lim Kit Siang today denied Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s warning that violence would rule the streets should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lose in the coming polls, adding that such allegations reflected the former prime minister’s “desperation” to keep Barisan Nasional (BN) in power.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir warned in a blog posting that violence from protesters at the April 28 Bersih rally was only the beginning of “unceasing violent demonstrations” if PR were to lose an election that must be held within the year.
But Lim, who is DAP parliamentary leader, claimed that Dr Mahathir’s allegation was “a complete figment of his imagination” as he has a “personal stake” in the outcome of the next general elections.
“Could it be that it has sunk in on him after the Bersih 3.0 rally that Umno and BN can be voted out of power in Putrajaya in the next general election?” Lim said in a statement today.
“And this meant that the long list of financial scandals and abuses of power in his 22 years as Prime Minister could finally be the subject of a full inquiry and he is doing his utmost to prevent the full story of his 22-year premiership from being told?”
Lim said that unlike Najib and other Umno leaders, Dr Mahathir seemed to have realised the full implication of the Bersih rally which saw “200,000 to 300,000 Malaysians” rallying for free and fair elections “despite all the high-powered and futile campaign…to vilify and demonise Bersih 3.0 and PR.”
This realisation, Lim claimed, has created a sense of desperation in Dr Mahathir that is reflected in his blog as well as his “scare mongering” in Kedah last week that the defeat of Umno in the next general election would be akin to Malays losing political power in the country.
“Dr Mahathir should know that it is not true that the Malays will lose political power with the defeat of Umno, as replacing Umno and BN in Putrajaya will be the Pakatan Rakyat comprising PKR, PAS and DAP; and the new Prime Minister will be Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim instead of Najib,” said Lim.
“What is evident is that Dr Mahathir has a personal stake in the outcome in the next general elections as to cause him to do his utmost, including concocting lies and falsehoods,” he said.
Dr Mahathir’s statement yesterday comes just days after Putrajaya launched legal action against Bersih and PKR leaders over the April 28 rally for free and fair elections which had spiralled into chaos as protestors and police clashed on the streets.
Bersih leaders were sued by the government for RM122,000 of repairs to 15 vehicles allegedly damaged during the rally for free and fair elections while opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and two party leaders were charged with taking part in an illegal street protest.
Both Dr Mahathir and current prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak have accused the opposition of engineering a coup via the Bersih protest.
The April 28 rally that saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan asked the crowd to
But the former Bar Council president’s announcement was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted to linger around the historic square which the court had already barred to the public over the weekend.
Just before 3pm, some protestors breached the barricade surrounding the landmark, leading police to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannons.
Police then continued to pursue rally-goers down several streets amid chaotic scenes which saw violence from both sides over the next four hours.
Several dozen demonstrators have claimed that they were assaulted by groups of over 10 policemen at a time and visual evidence appears to back their claim but police also point to violence from rally-goers who also attacked a police car.
The police car then crashed into a building before some protesters flipped it on its side.