Archive for May 2013

Urgent need for independent election commission

May 17, 2013

The 13th General Election has put to paid what almost every decent citizen has suspected all along: there is a deep trust deficit of the Election Commission.  The response to the post-election rallies by Pakatan Rakyat is a reflection that as Malaysians, we have lost all confidence and hope of an impartial election commission. Will UMNO/BN take cognizance of this fact and institute genuine structural reform? The wait since 2008 was in vein and people are toying with alternative ways to bring about reforms.

The numerous complaints about indelible ink being washed away soon after being applied, the complete one sided support by electronic and mainstream media for the BN, the blatant disregard of legal requirement on state assembly candidates spending not more than RM100000 and parliament candidate RM200000 by BN candidates shows the inability of the election commission to conduct fair and free elections.

The election is skewed for BN to win. The government machinery, government link companies and UMNO link companies that are funded by tax payers money virtually bribe voters to support BN. The EC has lost all moral authority and credibility to conduct a free and fair election. The Election commission in its present form is untenable and unless there are real structural changes, it will not be able to conduct any more elections that will be accepted by Malaysians.

On Election Day people were unable to trust any car, either by election officers or even police vehicles bringing in ballot boxes to the main centers in each parliamentary constituency.  They wanted to inspect all cars coming inside the compound. There was so much suspicion that ballot boxes will be switched or additional boxes added. All kinds of rumors were making the rounds and one car with false ballot papers was actually stopped in Lembah Pantai.

That is the level of mistrust of the election process by Malaysian people but the Election Commission seems to be insensitive or blind about these intransigencies.  This distrust began in 2008 when the use of indelible ink use was cancelled at the 11th hour. The call to reform the election commission became loud and clear soon after 2008. Bersih 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 came and went but no real reform was instituted except the use of inconsequential and washable so called indelible ink. A Parliamentary select committee for electoral reform was also formed. The BN ruling government has ensured that no electoral reform comes about.

The Election commission is now clearly seen as another government department that is unwilling to bring about any structural changes. Youths and civil society turning up in large numbers to attend the Pakatan Rakyat rallies calling for structural changes in the way election is conducted in Malaysia, falls squarely on the inaction and deceitfulness of the BN leadership and election commission.

UMNO/BN must realize that Malaysians are more informed and youths have become major electorates with new expectations. The Election commission has to be truly independent and there are no two ways about it. Elections are no more an exclusive monopoly of civil servants alone but groups like Bersih and the like are increasingly gaining acceptance and confidence of the general public. Unless these groups are included in the electoral process, Malaysians may not accept any further election results as legitimate.

800 voters in Labis given cash to vote for BN, claims DAP

May 17, 2013

M Krishnamoorthy

4:26PM May 13, 2013

Seven police reports have been lodged on canvassing in a voting room of the Labis parliamentary constituency, monetary rewards, blackouts and the wearing of BN T-shirts in the polling centre area.

The most serious offence was the handing out of cash ranging from RM30 to RM50 to about 800 voters in Ladang Gerchang and Ladang Claire when they returned after voting and handed over a slip with the BN logo.

DAP volunteers said they complained on Election Act violations to the Election Commission-appointed Ketua Tempat Mengundi (voting centre head), who is also the local MIC branch chairperson, but he brushed them off.

The cash payments, DAP aspirant candidate S Ramakrishnan (left) said, were made at the BN pondok outside the polling station at Sungei Gerchang Estate. This estate, he said, is owned by members of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s family.

Ramakrishnan, who lost narrowly to MCA’s Young Professionals Bureau leader Chua Tee Yong, handed over seven copies of police reports to Malaysiakini.

Five of the reports were made at the Chaah police station yesterday. The other two police reports on allegations of RM100,000 offered to buy over DAP campaign workers were made before the general election.

Ramakrishnan said he was shocked when he heard that the constituents were paid in cash immediately after voting.

‘Estate staff watched them mark ballot papers’

“They were paid cash when they returned a slip, which they were given before voting, with the assurance of money benefits.

“The slip of paper had the BN logo on it. The voters were monitored by BN officials at the Sungei Gerchang polling station while estate staff stood next to the polling booth to watch them vote for the BN.

“The Sungei Gerchang centre also used pencils for the voting, despite the centre being issue with ballpoint pens,” Ramakrishnan told Malaysiakini soon after returning from Labis yesterday.

He said the Achi Jaya Group of Plantation, which owns the estate in Sungei Gerchang, was owned by relatives of Taib Mahmud and it occupied an area of 30,000 hectares.

The estate staff banned the DAP workers and volunteers from campaigning in Sungei Gerchang or putting up posters there during the campaign period.

“Estate workers were threatened and warned not to support or allow opposition candidates or workers to campaign in the area,” said Ramakrishnan, who lost to Chua by 353 votes.