BERSIH: Greater electoral reforms

We were least surprise when MCA leader like Ong Ka Chuan and several Umno leaders say ‘no’ to the use of indelible ink. That’s because with the introduction of indelible ink, they cannot manipulate future elections with multiple voting anymore. In past elections, certain members of the ruling parties were specailly tasked to vote more than once on polling day. Can you imagine, constituency like Kuala Terengganu had a turnout rate of more than 95%!

One needs not ‘sympathise’ with BN component parties because they still have plenty other manipulations in their hands to help win elections. Thier mantra is Cheat to Win!

4 June 2007

Media Release
————-

BERSIH welcomes EC’s decision on indelible ink

BERSIH welcomes the Election Commission’s decision to consider the use of indelible ink in elections. Its responsiveness to one of BERSIH’s three immediate demands will strengthen our democratic institutions
and increase the legitimacy of the elected government.

This long-awaited decision is the result of the unwavering demands of the 64 NGOs and political  parties that support BERSIH. This encouraging development suggests that civil society’s voice counts and all Malaysians who desire accountability, transparency and participation in public affairs must articulate and lobby for other forms of electoral and political reform.

However, the SPR must be seen to act speedily to ensure the implementation of indelible ink for the next election and further to make sure that such implementation is in accordance with internationally accepted best practices.

These efforts to promote democracy must be supported, nurtured and continued. BERSIH urges the Elections Commission to take up the other reform demands listed below:

1. Cleaning up the electoral roll

While indelible ink can eliminate multiple voting, it does not prevent the impersonation and involuntary transfer of voters. To ensure all legitimate voters and only all legitimate voters can vote in the elections, EC must advice against any decision by the government to hold elections before the electoral roll is satisfactorily cleaned up
and updated.

2. Abolition of domestic postal voting

Dialogues and debate on the continuity or termination of this non-transparent process must begin immediately. Should the EC, security forces and others object to the abolition of this process, they must articulate their rationale publicly or else suggest ways to overcome the problems associated with this process, such as the disappearance of 5,000 ballots in Lumut over four consecutive ,elections since 1990.

With the exception of personnel who are on active duty on polling day, army and police personnel should be allowed to vote in polling centres. For personnel on active duty who are required to cast their votes before polling day, polling agents from the contesting parties should be allowed to observe the polling process.

We understand that EC Chairman is leaving office at the end of this year unless his term is extended by the Government. Tan Sri Abdul Rashid, who served as Secretary of the EC between 1979 and 1995,
returned to serve as its Chairman since 2001. Unfortunately, the 2004 general election saw some of the worst irregularities ever and this trend worsened in the recent Ijok by-election. If Tan Sri Rashid wishes to leave office with some form of legacy of reform, we demand
that the EC act on other more long-term actions such as:

1. Duration of campaigning period

The campaign period should be a minimum of 21 days, if not five weeks. Short campaign periods of less than 10 days must be reviewed. A shorter campaign period tends to disadvantage opposition parties, which operate with fewer resources than the Government, as well as lack access to state and public media. The Government’s prerogative to
call an election as and when it suits its partisan interests is
another reason why a longer campaign period is needed, in order to maintain a ‘level playing field’ for all parties.

2. Media access

All parties should have equal access to local and national media, particularly during the campaigning period. One administrative measure that could be taken would be an organized debate on national TV. The EC should champion rights of freedom of expression and freedom of
information, in order to ensure a more level playing field during elections. Recognising problems with the concentration of media ownership in the hands of governing political parties, the EC should further champion the cause of diversity of media ownership.

3. Right of reply

A code of conduct must be issued to ensure balanced reporting in all media, based on the Malaysian Press Institute’s code of ethics for election reporting, as presented in the draft Media Council Act 2001.

5 Responses to “BERSIH: Greater electoral reforms”

  1. ronnieliutiankhiew Says:

    选委会使用不脱色墨水
    干净公平选举联盟欢迎

    ■日期/Jun 05, 2007 ■时间/01:51:28 pm
    ■新闻/家国风云 ■作者/Merdekareview.com 记者

    【本刊记者撰述】干净与公平选举联盟(BERSIH)对马来西亚选举委员会决定在选举中采用不脱色墨水表示欢迎,该联盟认为,选举委员会响应该联盟三项及时诉求之一,有助加强我国的民主制度,提高当选政府的认受性。

    干净与公平选举联盟今天发表声明说,这项期待已久的决定,是由64个支持该联盟的非政府组织及政党坚持不懈的结果。

    “这项令人鼓舞的发展意味着公民社会的声音是有价值的,所有渴望公共事务具公信力、透明度及参与度的马来西亚人,一定要清楚的说出他们的声音,并对其他形式的选举及政治改革展开游说工作。”

    该联盟也促请选举委员会加快脚步,以确保不脱色墨水在来届大选落实,并确保执行时符合国际最佳标准。

    “这些推广民主的努力必须得到支持、辅助及延续。”

    该联盟也促请选举委员会推动下列改革:

    一、确保选民册干净:虽然不脱色墨水可以消除重复投票,但这不能阻止乔装及非自愿性转移的选民。为了确保所有合法选民及只有合法选民可以在选举中投票,选委会必须反对政府在没有确保选民册干净及更新的情况下,宣布大选。

    二、废除国内邮寄选票:马上开始对话与辩论,以讨论是否延续或中止这项不透明的做法。如果选委会、军队及其他人士反对废除邮寄选票,他们必须公开说明,或者提出建议如何解决邮寄选票产生的问题,例如:在红土坎区自1990年大选一连四届选举失踪的五千张选票。

    除了在投票日执行任务的官员,军人及警察应该被允许前往投票站投票。至于在投票日当天执行任务的官员,若在投票日前一天投票,各参选政党的投票监督员应该被允许前往观察。

    除非政府延长他的服务期限,否则选举会主席阿都拉昔将在今年底服务届满退休。阿都拉昔,在1979年至1995年间担任选委会秘书,并在2001年担任主席;不幸的是,2004年全国大选期间,让人看到了非常糟糕的不寻常情况,这些情况在最近的依约补选越来越严重。

    如果阿都拉昔希望留下一些改革才离开,我们要求选委会落实其他长期活动例如:

    (一)竞选期:竞选期必须至少达21天,或者是五个星期,且必须检讨少过10天的竞选期。太短的竞选期对掌控资源较少、及无法使用国营媒体的在野党不利。政府拥有特权,在符合某政党的利益时宣布大选,是另一个竞选期需增加的原因,以便政党维持一个可以公平竞争的场合。

    (二)运用媒体:所有政党必须有公平的机会使用地方性及全国性媒体,特别是在竞选期间。其中可采取的行政措施包括通过国营电视台主办全国辩论。选委会必须拥护言论自由及资讯自由,以确保选举公平进行。当认识到媒体拥有权集中在执政党的手中,选委会必须拥护多元的媒体拥有权的理想。

    (三)答复权:正如2001年媒体理事会法令初稿所说的,以马来西亚新闻学院(Malaysian Press Institute)的选举报道行为操守为基础,向所有媒体分派一份操守指南,以确保平衡报道。

  2. KSTAN Says:

    Ronnie, I’m puzzled when you said you were shocked that Ong Ka Chuan disagreed about the usage of the indelible ink. Ong have been loosing the seat of Batu Gajah to DAP’s YB Fong Po Kuan since 1999. If the usage of the indelible ink comes into effect, he can’t get the SPR to cheat for him this time. Can’t you see, he’s in a desperado sorry state to win Batu Gajah at all cost. Sibling rivary lah, if my brother have a parliamentary seat, so must I. Hahaha …. just joking lah!🙂

  3. ronnieliutiankhiew Says:

    dear kstan, i did not say i was shocked by Ong’s position. I said “we were least surprise… i.e. vey little surprise.
    I think Ka Chuan would not dare to face Fong anymore now that the indelible ink is out. the majority obtained by po kuan last round was too big for him to do anything, including transfering MCA voters from outside. No?

  4. Liu Zhen bao Says:

    Ronnie,
    The one who manufactures indelible ink also manufactures the solvent of the so-called ‘indelible’ ink! So what’s there to rejoice about?
    With crooks, indelible ink is nothing more than a charade!

    I would be pleased to know the source of MCA’s rejection of the indelible ink – I want to spread the news to some die-hard MCA friends.

  5. ronnieliutiankhiew Says:

    dear zhen bao,
    if i’m not mistaken, there’s no such thing as the solution for the indelible ink as yet. as for the news report, get a copy of Oriental daily (yesterday edition). Ong even slighted the use of ink as outdated. He actually suggested something he hinself does not understand i.e. online inspection with SPR. That’s being done for years now. what is he talking about? and how does this resolve the problem of multiple voting and phatom voters?
    take care, ronnie

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