“Gerakan Youth is of the opinion that struggles of organisations such as Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) should be considered seriously for the sake of justice and recognition of human rights principles enshrined in the federal constitution.”
ANDY Yong, Gerakan Youth’s legal, public complaints and social welfare bureau chief, declaring the party youth wing’s interest in joining the 1 Aug 2009 anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) rally in Kuala Lumpur. (Source: Gerakan Youth to join anti-ISA rally, Malaysiakini, 13 July 2009)
Yong revealed that Gerakan’s national central committee had decided to push for reform of the ISA, especially where it concerned detention without trial. Party leaders such as Penang Gerakan chairperson Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan had previously stepped up to the plate to tackle the same issue.
However, the youth wing’s latest gesture of bipartisanship was to be short-lived.
“We can shout, we can wave flags and don banners, none of that will achieve its purpose if the ‘people in power’ should continue to view us as pest.”
Gerakan Youth deputy chief Lim Si Pin, in an entry on his blog about the furore that arose after Yong’s announcement. (Source: Move – Gerak(an), limsipin.com, 16 July 2009)
Lim argued that no amount of “peaceful assembly or march will turn the tide if the Govt [sic] is not prepared to change a certain policy.” While insisting that the youth wing’s intent was to “inculcate our next generation to be brave and be bold”, Lim stressed that if GMI‘s march failed to receive a police permit, Gerakan members should not break the law by marching forward.
On 1 Aug itself, Lim announced that Gerakan Youth would “detach ourselves from the joint-march”, as “the ‘walk’ is deemed illegal under the Police Act.”
“Street protests, especially those involving big crowds, are definitely undesirable as[,] if not careful[,] they can lead to untoward incidents or even violence[;] and the authorities, especially the police, would have a tough time controlling the situation.”
Gerakan vice-president Datuk Mah Siew Keong, who added that his party welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak‘s suggestion that “suitable venues, including stadiums” be provided for citizens to “air their grievances peacefully and orderly.” (Source: Hold peaceful gatherings in stadiums, gerakan.org.my, 3 Aug 2009)
Mah maintained that any gathering should be a “win-win” situation — “allowing participants to air their grievances and opinions and allowing the government to better understand the issues at hand”.