While there are many questions on how the Election Commission of Malaysia will spend the unprecedented and world record RM700mil budget for the 13th General Election these are the possibilities based on spending trends of the EC. Have a look:
1. International and appointed election observers-this general election will make history for EC’s introduction of international observers and appointed local observers after years of adamant refusal. Much money will be used to take good care of the international guests-who are handpicked from select `friendly’ countries -may be Burma, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan and the like, to sweeten these international `examiners’ of the Malaysian election administration. Then they had also appointed select local groups to be the local observers who are not told that they will be restricted by 20 conditions that had been introduced to the few election observers in the country. Loads of 5-star hotel `briefings’ and expensive cuisine will perhaps help to wash down these harsh conditions onto these new observers; 10 local observers will be appointed per parliament constituencies-thus there will be 222X10 =2220 local observers; More EC staff will be needed to handle this hordes of appointed observers, not to mention that the existing un-appointed observers will actually the ones putting more pressures on the EC!
2. Then there are a flurry of effort to `correct’ the constituencies boundaries, given that the EC can’t redraw the constituencies boundary due to BN’s lack of 2/3 majority in the Parliament and state assemblies. Switching the voters have the same effect as switching the boundaries-both help to manipulate the constituencies in favour of certain parties. More personnel is needed to do this in time for 13th GE;
3. Another area is speeding up the collection of election results-usually the EC official results lag behind the NGO/alternative media in getting election results; this need to be speeded up for a purpose best known to the EC; As a pattern the official results always announce victories by ruling parties first, and then only Opposition parties; The time lapse could allow some strongly suspected manipulations especially in closely fought constituencies; It also serve another purpose where the BN lose in certain states or in the Parliament-early results allow the BN to initiate bargaining with some Opposition parties to stay in power!!!
4. The dropping of the objection to candidates and subsequent appeal provisions at the nomination stage could potentially cause havoc at the nomination centers-thus the need to beef up security beyond the previous level; previously the police already spend 5 to 10 times of the EC in election operation; now it will be even higher to stop unhappy candidates dropped at the whims of the Returning Officer to make noise;
5. There will be enforcement officers appointed at all constituencies X500+-their allowances and training will be enhanced -so do expect more strict and possibly selective enforcement from these folks at this election-coupled with more troublesome procedures to obtain ceramah permits;;
Other than these the following also need more spending to do what the EC is good at ie to advantage the ruling party to cling on to power:
6. Overseas voting;
7. Early voting;
8. later voters registration-regularly allowed at EC’s discretion; they may be assigned to strategic constituencies;
9. More training for Returning Officers and polling clerks to attune their mind to ignore polling irregularities;
10.More media public relation exercises to polish the EC’s image eg publish 2nd edition of the publication `The Truth';
Regrettably the EC is not spending on the following areas where the EC could turn over a new leaf to become a respected election administrator:
1. start an investigation arm to look into the thousands of complaints which are regularly ignored and never reported in its election report;
2.strengthen its legal officer office so that EC can speak out against frauds and election transgressions rather than give the offenders the benefit of doubt whenever the offense is committed by the ruling politicians eg the EC chief said the PM was `legally well briefed’ to promise Rm5mil to Sibu voters if they vote BN candidate; Where was the legal officer?
3. Strengthen its Standard Operation Procedures so that eg they can draw a line on politicians’ encroachments eg physically encroach into the polling stations where they are disallowed to enter! There are also numerous other administration encroachments than publicised;
4. Strengthen its strategic planning section so that in time to come it can improve its standing eg bring its operation to international professional standards in many areas eg allowing longer nomination and campaign periods, following regional and international practices;
5. Strengthen its disclosures of information so that the public will get quick answers to their many queries that cast doubt on the EC’s integrity eg involuntary voters transfers;
6. strengthen its notoriously lacking voter education;
7. strengthen its quality control on the performance of the entire election personnel eg some Returning Officers attend the campaign functions of ruling party candidates-giving a bias image to the EC;
8. Strengthen its media presentation eg prompt and non-bias reply to criticisms from the public; the EC often present politically bias replies that spoil its impartial image; Eg EC defend campaigning by the PM ahead of the official campaign period;
9. Strengthen its division of labour among the 7 EC Commisioners-the current image is only the top 2 ever speak for the EC; what about the other 5?
10. Strengthen the electoral rolls compilation that cause regular embarrassment to the EC!
Uproar over RM700mil for polls expenses
Syed Jaymal Zahiid
| July 11, 2012
Pakatan Rakyat demands to know why it takes that much to run the 13th national elections.
KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat leaders today raised alarms over the Election Commission’s RM700 million budget to run the looming 13th general polls which is a drastic increase from its initial RM40 million allocation.
PKR senator Syed Husin Ali, speaking to reporters here, revealed Putrajaya’s request for an additional RM360 million for the EC’s operational expenses, and RM300 million for “security expenses” amid an ongoing national dispute over the credibility of the country’s elections system.
According to the former PKR deputy president, the amount was easily the biggest budget so far for an election.
“The government must explain why is there a drastic increase from RM40 million to RM360 million in allocation for the EC’s operational expenses.
“And this much money will be spent when there isn’t even any assurance that polls reform would be implemented,” Syed Husin said.
The senator pointed that the request for RM300 million for security expenses was also questionable citing past incidents where opposition ceramah events were attacked by alleged supporters of the ruling coalition.
“So what guarantees are there that taxpayers money would be spent accordingly?” asked the PKR senator.
Growing support for polls reform movement Bersih and a national backlash derived from brutal crackdowns on its peaceful protests for free and fair elections have forced Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to accede to calls for a cleansing of the election system.
A Parliamentary Select Committee was then set up to look into the demands followed by a 22 point recommendations tabled and approved in the Lower House at the March Parliament sitting.
But the opposition claimed the premier was insincere with his reform pledges after he failed to give any assurance that the recommendations would be implemented before he calls for national polls which must be held by mid 2013.
The PSC’s 22 recommendations, approved without debate, had also been criticised for purportedly failing to touch on specific issues pertaining to discrepancies in the current electoral roll.
Opposition leaders alleged this proved allegations that the ruling coalition was hell-bent on winning what would be its toughest elections yet through cheating although Najib denied the allegation.
Leaders from the ruling coalition also described Bersih and its opposition backers’ call for polls reform dishonest for rejecting the recommendations.
They said their preference for street protests over dialogue strengthened perceptions that the movement was only interested in overthrowing the present government via a coup.