EC held a press conference today at Pullman hotel to announce the dates for the coming Sarawak State Elections. Nomination is on Apr 6th while polling on 16th. The issues arising were: EC claim that it has not look into the issue of giving postal votes to Sarawakians living in West Malaysia-though they has taken the trouble to give the wife of police the discretionary right to cast postal votes. The question is: why?
The EC also pushed away its responsibility on vote buying-pushed it to the MACC, on abuses of civil servants in party campaign-claiming that the issue need to be decided by court. The EC also tried to play for time on the issue of appointing an observer group led by a party leader, by promising to question the observer group on Mar 29th.Earlier it has failed to explain why it only want to accredit 1 group-thus exposing itself to problems when the only group cause problems.
Anyway the accreditation issue is a tough issue because the accreditation come with 20 tough conditions which almost make it impossible to perform the role of observer. Put it crudely the EC’s demand for accrediting a group is to stop the group from airing the problems observed, in the media. So is the trade off for observer worth it-given that the media exposure is almost the only avenue to put some pressure on the EC to improve its performance. By international standards the observers are not stopped to put forward their comments on the election conduct especially when the weaknesses observe impinge seriously on the election results ie when the will of the people may be robbed!
So: did the EC accredit a group which would meekly accept the gag order? Then there need to be another people’s election observer group to pick up where the EC-accredited election observer group has left Behind!