Fight against corruption starts with electoral reform
Bersih 2.0’s demand for electoral reform has made the general public well aware of the urgent need to reform the entire election process. The onus is on Election commission which is giving lame excuses for their inability and lack of political will to reform. The mission of election commission is to conduct free and fair election. Therefore Election commission has to be proactive and take it upon themselves what is required of them to do. It’s the duty and responsibility of election commissioners to ensure that the Election Commission enjoys complete autonomy and is insulated from any kind of executive interference and stop lamenting that they don’t have legislative authority to do so.
Recent media reports show that the election commission and the electoral process are far from what is expected from them. A permanent resident one “Mismah”, has become a voter within hours. This creates doubt as to how many such “mismahs” in the electoral roll. 1,579 similar cases have been found in less than 24 hours mostly in Selangor. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In Sabah illegal immigrants were given blue ICs overnight and become voters dislodging the local’s choice of government. Many such reports have appeared all over the country. And in each incidence the response from election commission is very unprofessional and cast more doubts. With millions of illegal and legal foreign workers all over the country, the possibilities of fraudulent voter registration is very real and appears as a national threat. Election commission must be made independent and accountable to the parliament on the electoral reforms. Their responsibility is to the nation and its people and not blindly following the political master who is struggling to remain in power forever.
In countries like India, Thailand, Indonesia the election commission is highly respected by the people from all divides because of their impartiality in conducting far and free elections. India has 700 million voters and the election commission is respected by the people and feared by the political parties running for office. All because the election commission officials take it up themselves the responsibilities to conduct an election which is unbiased, free from money politics and free from vote rigging. The people respect and accept the elections result without any question. But in Malaysia people has to protest to bring about electoral reforms. Bersih 2.0 calling for electoral reform is considered unlawful and people voicing out support for Bersih 2.0 gets arrested. It’s high time that the election commission realize that the general public is more aware and well exposed to electoral process in other countries.
If only the election commission could support and work towards the Bersih 2.0 demands, the commission will win the support and respect of people. It’s their religious duty to be independent and conduct fair and free elections. The government that gets elected through fraudulent means will not be accountable to people. It will be corrupted and people will be robbed of good governance. Therefore electoral reform is a prelude to the war against corruption, nepotism and cronyism. If no change forth coming then there may be Bersih 3.0 and so on until change takes place.
Senator S. Ramakrishnan