BLUNDER OR COUP? Did Najib Razak make a mistake when he offered the organisers of BERSIH to hold their so-called Yellow march in a stadium? Was he ill-advised? Has the Prime Minister unwittingly provided Anwar's Ambiga an avenue for 100,000 people to throw tantrums in the name of clean and fair elections on July 9?
Some people think Najib bungled. Among the PDRM top brass even, some felt the government should have let the police do their job because the police were not going to give two hoots about your right to march if that right is going to cause havoc on the streets and jeopardise public order and safety. Some of the anti-BERSIH people also thought the PM was becoming soft. Letting Ambiga have that audience with the YDP Agong, too, was seen as a blunder.
I, however, am of the opinion that Najib has actually pulled off a major coup. Two reasons:
1. He has gotten BERSIH, a potential organiser of massive rallies, to agree that "walking" in a stadium is the right thing to do compared with marching on the streets. This is a precedent of sorts which future Ambigas must follow.
2. Some of her lieutenants have advertised Stadium Merdeka as the venue even though the stadium's people have said NO. But whether it is Stadium Merdeka or the beautiful Shah Alam stadium, it does not matter because the "sting" of the BERSIH walk is gone. The minute Ambiga agreed to have the walk in the stadium, she has agreed to terms and conditions of the stadium (even if the stadium is located in Selangor or Penang, where the state governments are openly pro-BERSIH). And those of us who walked in BERSIH 1.0 in 2007 know that there is no way, now way at all, that the sea of yellow on the streets of KL which triggered the political tsunami of March 2008 could be replicated or repeated within the confines of a stadium.
I'm sure Ambiga and gang know that they've been cornered. Check mated. They need to start the walk outside the stadium in order to save the walk. But no need to sulk Alternatively, as I'd suggested much earlier on Twitter, they could try to organise a massive concert in the stadium to help convey the message. If Sweet Charity or Blues Gang plays, I'd pay to take part in the walk in the stadium.