Even if I’m alone, I will be there on Aug 13
to unveil our 10-point declaration
which contains the people's will,
declares Francis Siah !!!
MoCS leader shares his thoughts on Aug 13 Red Rally
Posted on August 4, 2011 by mocsarawak
This is the full text of Malaysiakini writer Keruah Usit’s email interview with MoCS leader Francis Paul Siah.
1. Do you think the support given to Bersih 2.0 by many citizens and bloggers, during and after July 9, will make it easier to encourage Sarawakians to take part in the August 13 walk for democracy in Kuching? How many participants would you expect to be able to call the Red Rally a success at expressing the people’s will?
This is Kuching. This is Sarawak. In general, we are certainly more reserved and timid than our fellow Malaysians in the peninsula. There were reports that only about 100 Sarawakians went to the Bersih rally. I’m not sure how the Bersih event will impact the Aug 13 walk for democracy and reform but it was certainly an awakening for Sarawakians too.
Frankly, I’m not worried about how many will attend. The most important thing is when MoCS says that the event will be staged, we hold it despite the overwhelming odds against us.
Even if I’m alone, I will be there on Aug 13. (Maybe do a Hii Tiong Huat, haha) But of course, I know I will not be alone. We have received good support so far but whether that will be translated into attendance at the event, I’m not sure.
As I’ve said, the numbers do not matter. We have made clear that we do not force or coerce people to come. They have to come of their own free will. The objectives of Aug 13 are more important.
Our 10-point declaration which MoCS will unveil on Aug 13 is a very important document. We can say that it contains the people’s will.
2. Do you expect the police to deny MoCS a permit for the rally? The latest update was on July 27. Have the police been in contact with MoCS, after an MoCS representative in Kuching applied for the permit?
We remain hopeful for a police permit.
On July 27, five police officers interviewed our applicant in Kuching. Taking a cue from Bukit Aman’s advice to Bersih, MoCS applied in the name of an individual. Apparently, the Sarawak police operate in a different dimension.
I have been informed that the police had “verbally agreed” to issue us a permit provided we don’t march but hold a stationary gathering i.e. we gather at one location. They even mentioned that we could use the Padang Merdeka if we want to. But our choice is the Museum Ground because the Cenotaph is located there. There will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph to honour the heroes of Sarawak.
The other condition is that the police want us to apply for the permit using a registered organization. We are working on that at the moment.
We will cooperate with the police for as long as their requests or demands are reasonable. My only fear is that they may eventually bow to political pressure from certain leaders in the state government. I’m hoping that the new Sarawak Police Commissioner, Datuk Mortadza Nazarene, (right in photo) is his own man.
3. If the police refuse a permit, as expected, are you concerned that you may be arrested for promoting an ‘illegal’ assembly as 30 people (mostly from PSM) were in Kepala Batas before Bersih 2.0? Are you worried about your personal safety when you return to Kuching for the rally?
Getting arrested is the least of my worries. But I will tread with caution. I will certainly not go around wearing a Bersih t-shirt knowing that the police will arrest me if I were to do that. I am not one of those who seem to ‘enjoy’ being arrested and bask in the limelight over it. MoCS fellows have been directed not to get involved in such stupidity.
Aug 13 is a RED rally because red is the theme colour of MoCS. So far, red t-shirts have not been banned, otherwise Manchester United or Liverpool fans will be very disappointed too, wouldn’t they?
I have never been imprisoned in my life and I don’t wish to spend even a night in a police lock-up. The two things that make it impossible for me to sleep are heat and mosquitoes. I need a good night’s rest because I’m not particularly healthy. I’m still nursing a heart ailment and also suffer from hypertension and high cholesterol.
As for my personal safety on my return to Kuching for the Aug 13 event, I’m not worried at all. Although I’ve been warned that there are ruthless people around, I still have faith and trust that Kuchingites and Sarawakians are peace-loving and non-violent people.
4. Are you worried about violence, tear gas, water cannon etc being used on marchers, or violence being used by some agent provocateur, pretending to be a marcher? What preparations are being made to train marshals who can help keep marchers in line and peaceful?
No, on that day, we will cooperate with the police closely in terms of order and security as MoCS, being a small organization, is unable to mobilize our own marshals.
As for agent provocateur, it’s the job of the police to identify them. But I honestly like to believe that we are all sensible and mature people. I’m a believer in the solidarity and strength of Sarawakians on this front. I doubt there will be any act of violence at all.
No, I don’t expect the police to use tear gas or water cannons. There were talks of violence during the Bersih rally on July 9 but everything was peaceful.
5. What answer would you give to allegations that you are pushing for the Red Rally as some kind of personal vendetta against Taib, and that MoCS does not command popular support?
Personal vendetta? That is interesting. It’s not as if that I will be taking over as chief minister once MoCS or me manage to oust Taib Mahmud. I’m a nobody with absolutely no political ambition. I’m just a Sarawakian who cares deeply for my home state. Once Taib is gone, I will probably retire to the countryside and enjoy some farming and writing or be a fisherman (read ‘fisher of men’).
I’m not that young anymore. Politics is stressful. Why must I continue to stress myself if really MoCS is not wanted anymore.
I think only a few people have accused me of waging a personal vendetta against Taib.
The thing is that people find it impossible to believe that I would be doing all these things for NOTHING. The unbelievers will have to come up with something so they zero in on personal vendetta.
Another important thing I wish to say is that there are a lot of information I’m privy to about Taib and his ambitious plan for himself, his family and cronies. Taib will never change. Others do not know what I know. And one thing I can say here is that the sooner the people are able to oust Taib, the better it will be for Sarawak.
Political secrets revealed in confidence to me will go with me into my grave. That is a gentleman’s word and the honourable thing to do especially if the secrets are about your enemies.
It is not necessary for MoCS to command popular support. We are not a political party who need the support of the people to win elections.
Legally, MoCS does not even exist, so why the need for support? We are just a loose caucus and MoCS is just a platform for people sharing the same agenda and going on the same mission.
But I’m surprised that MoCS has caught the attention of many, even top leaders in the government. I don’t like to brag but more and more people are contacting me and MoCS.
But at the end of it all, I will always say that MoCS is only a mosquito outfit and that is the label I like it to be known. Why the need to boast that you are big when you are small. Better say you are nothing because if you are something, people will know and there is no need for you to say anything.
6. Do you expect the Red Rally to have any impact on the outcome of the next general parliamentary election?
I really cannot predict the impact. But our message is clear. There must be urgent political reforms in the state and if the current government cannot perform, then the people have to elect another which can. I expect this message will catch on with our people.