Election Commission & Bersih 2.0: A Pot Calling a Kettle Black?
The Election Commission (EC) questioned the ability of Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan to ensure all ‘citizen observers’ in her Bersih 2.0 electoral watchdog group obey the law and steer clear of fouling up the polls regulator’s work.
EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar was reported by a Malay news portal as saying Bersih 2.0 was formed along partisan lines and that it was possible the group may have a certain agenda to protect its partisan interests.
It is uncanny that Wan Ahmad has so much time to spend criticizing Bersih 2.0 and their demands for electoral reforms and efforts to ensure a free and fair electoral process BUT has little time available to put some of these demands into practice.
To be fair, the participation of Opposition leaders/politicians in the group's rallies may have created a wrong perception of the group's agenda. Wan Ahmad and his chairman are not free from similar accusations too. Both Wan Ahmad and Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof have been accused of being UMNO card carrying members and being partisan.
Instead of hurling accusations against Bersih 2.0, it would be more productive for EC to study seriously the merit of the group's eight demands:
1. Clean up the electoral roll
2. Reform postal ballot
3. Use indelible ink
4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
5. Free and fair access to media
6. Strengthen public institutions e.g. MACC to curb political corruption
7. Curb corruption
8. Stop dirty politics
These demands are non-partisan and reasonable. If the EC is using public funds to pay for its operations, both Wan Ahmad and Abdul Aziz must stand responsible for the credibility of our electoral process. If Wan Ahmad cannot deliver these reforms and demands, he is not qualified to continue playing a role in EC. We need individuals who can put nation above self.
By accusing Bersih 2.0 and Ambiga for being partisan, the EC is faring no better in perception and its inability to help enhance the image/credibility of the electoral process.
Wan Ahmad should spend less time on spewing accusations and more time on these reforms if he wants us to believe that EC is both credible and independent.