Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Election Commission Leadership: Shape Up or Ship Out!

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenivasan has warned the federal government of a possible Bersih 3.0 due to lagging polls reforms and unsuspected surge of voters in certain constituencies. It is highly possible we are facing one of the most stubborn and bias 'independent' institutions in Malaysia, the Election Commission.

The EC chieftains continue to flip flop on what they are empowered to do and what they should do to ensure better protection of democracy and a fairer electoral process. Earlier, a group of overseas Malaysians had demanded for a right to vote. Unfortunately, the EC and several Barisan leaders had rubbished the idea. MCA Chua Soi Lek said it would be too costly and impractical to hold overseas voting at embassies. 

This is a price to pay for real democracy. If countries such as Singapore can do it why can't we? After all, this government has never been known for its financial prudence. It is certainly a money well spent compared to worse financial crisis and scandals we had faced.

Recently, several Pakatan leaders including Azmin Ali, along with PAS' Kuala Krai MP Hatta Ramli and DAP's Rasah parliamentarian Anthony Loke, had condemned the EC for its failure to address serious problems with the electoral roll.

During the PSC meetings, Azmin said, the EC testified that it could not clean up the electoral roll because it has no power to remove names that even it confirmed as "dubious".

Azmin referred to the 42,000 names the EC had agreed were dubious as they lacked proper addresses and details.

According to him, the EC said it was powerless to take off the gazetted official electoral roll as that would be against the law, despite promising to do so earlier.

This is not an isolated case. The commission has been trying at any possible attempt to increase the number of postal voters by calling for their staff and members of the media to be allowed to cast their votes via postal voting. 

Postal vote has been identified as one of the main avenues for electoral fraud. PSC has been trying to reduce the number of postal voters.

If the EC is powerless to do what it has been empowered to do by the constitution, it is time to change its leadership and appoint those who are willing to act without fear or favour to ensure a fair and just electoral process.

Our democracy and fate cannot be rested on a few recalcitrant individuals whose attitude and non-compliance may tarnish the credibility of our electoral democracy. 

It is time to be accountable and clean up the electoral roll, implement rules which will level the playing field, appoint a real caretaker government during the campaign period to ensure no abuse of public funds for political advantage by incumbents and allow fair and free campaigns.

We need a Puss in Boots and not a pussy cat in EC! Or it is time to bring on the Bersih 3.0. This time we mean business. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

EC role is to ensure UMNO remain in power by hook or by crook.