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Bersih 2.0 seriously hurt economy, says Soi Lek

Bersih 2.0 seriously hurt economy, says Soi Lek
By Yow Hong Chieh
July 12, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The damage from Saturday’s Bersih rally far exceeds RM100 million as the street protest adversely impacts investor confidence and tourism, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has said.
The MCA president said foreigners unfamiliar with Malaysia will be swayed by the chaotic mamooth rally’s footage and reconsider investment plans or travel in the country.

“The loss is in terms of confidence, the loss of the image of Malaysia as a peace-loving country,” he told reporters at Wisma MCA here today.

“The loss is people have no confidence to invest in the country and the loss is people who dare not come to Malaysia because they think that Malaysia is as what has been described: KL, a warzone.”

He warned that if street demonstrations became the culture of Malaysians, it will further put the country’s investment climate at risk.

Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Association (Ikhlas) president Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah was quoted by Utusan Malaysia as saying that some 5,000 traders had recorded losses up to RM100 million because they were forced to close for the day.

Dr Chua also claimed public abhorrence to such rallies was the reason Barisan Nasional (BN) did well in Election 1999, held just over a year after then-deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking sparked mass street protests.

“People are worried that, in a multiracial country, if street demonstrations are not controlled properly, it may turn racial. And that is a possibility that one should not dismiss,” he said.

Bersih had claimed a turnout of 50,000 for the street demonstration which went ahead without police permission, resulting in nearly 1,700 arrests, scores injured and the death of a PKR leader’s husband.

The electoral reforms movement decided to take to the streets despite previously accepting Najib’s offer to move the street rally to a stadium after the government refused to allow the gathering to take place in Stadium Merdeka.

This came after the King called on the government a week ago to execute its duties fairly and for it to meet Bersih and discuss the issue of free and fair elections.

Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin had intervened after a police dragnet that had seen over 100 arrests, the raiding of the Bersih secretariat and confiscation of Bersih-related materials in the space of a week.

The first Bersih rally in November 2007 also saw tens of thousands being dispersed by police with tear gas and water cannons.

It was said to have been a key factor in a general election called four months later, which saw BN lose its customary two-thirds hold of Parliament after ceding 82 seats and five state governments in its worst showing ever at the polls.

One Response to “Bersih 2.0 seriously hurt economy, says Soi Lek”

  1. He said what?!! Serously, Chua Soi Lek is talking a load of rubbish. What is he trying to imply to Malaysians and the world? Bersih 2.0 is harmful to everything in Malaysia? Oh don’t make me laugh. Bersih 2.0 is about asking for electoral reforms and change. Perhaps Chua Soi Lek needs to get real.

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