New Year's Eve Rally: Opportunists Taking Advantage Of People - AcademicianBy Mohd Yusof Saari
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Bernama) -- The New Year's Eve illegal rally here witnessed the meaning of freedom being tarnished again in the name of democracy, said an academician.
Summarising the action as a move by certain quarters hiding behind non-governmental organisations (NGO), Dr Amini Amir Abdullah from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) felt that the rally nothing more than serving the interests and political survival of opportunist groups.
"The rally was a planned move by opportunists, they were taking advantage of the large crowd to supposedly champion the people's rights to lower the price of goods.
"Without realising it, youths and those claiming to be university students who made up a big part of the demonstration, were actually being used by opportunists in the NGOs for their own survival and agenda," he told BERNAMA when in commenting on the rally held on Tuesday.
The illegal rally turned violent and forced the New Year's Eve concert organised by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to be cancelled half an hour before midnight.
Police have identified four NGOs as organisers of the rally, namely Gerakan Turun Kos Sara Hidup (Turun), Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM), Jingga 13 and Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM).
Amini Amir said the majority of youths who took part in the event showed that they were easily manipulated although they were not as affected by the increased price of goods and services since most were still under the care of their families.
"Youths are usually shaky in their stand...some of them may be university students, but not all because university students are not that free to join illegal rallies.
"To me, they are actually former students who are in a tight position, unemployed for example, and choose to blame the government for their situation, and in turn opportunists take advantage of them for their own agenda," he said.
The Faculty of Human Ecology lecturer held the view that the rally was more of an effort to gain political mileage by certain quarters than to champion the people's problems because clearly the participants weren't too clear of what they were fighting for.
Amini Amir also questioned the unity between the NGOs, because besides bringing participants to flood Dataran Merdeka, there were no other activities planned for them although they had dominated the premises and stopped the concert going on.
"They weren't sure of what to voice out that night, if they had a detailed plan there would have been a speech or more organised activity to justify their action.
"What was the result of the rally, it's nothing more than success for the opportunists using the people's rights for their political mileage," he said.
When asked if the government should respond to their demands, he suggested that the price control scheme be extended to more goods and not only during festive seasons.
"The government has reacted appropriately by announcing 11 steps to reduce public sector expenditure, although they will say it was a result of their action, the government should let them be and continue their work to improve the welfare of the people," he added.