The EC chief is at it again: he accused Bersih of being `dishonest’ because the Opposition leaders joined the Bersih march. Well, why didn’t the BN leaders joined the march when they were also invited? How can Bersih be faulted if Opposition leaders attended the march along with many other non-Opposition related NGOs and civil organisations? The EC’s urge to `hit back’ on Bersih seems to overcome their urge to uphold a high standards on their conduct-without which they betray their lack of professional capacity to do their job! Since their argument is lacking can it simply be that they were `asked’ to attack the Bersih group, just to follow order, or to be part of the `cama’ gang (Cari Makan-coined by Samad Ismail)?
EC chief dubs Bersih leaders dishonest
“So (Bersih chief Datuk) Ambiga (Sreenevasan)’s statement to me that Bersih does not side political parties is not true at all,” Abdul Aziz wrote in an essay published by the Umno-owned Mingguan Malaysian today.
“In addition, PAS president (Datuk Seri) Hadi Awang threatened SPR to take action on the eight demands, or else they will organise another demonstration,” he added, using the EC’s Malay acronym.
Abdul Aziz pointed out that Hadi’s remarks revealed Bersih 2.0’s association with political parties, saying: “Bersih is no longer the impartial body that first came to see me. It is as if it has become a political party.”
Bersih 2.0 – a coalition of 62 NGOs – has made eight demands in their call for free and fair elections, which are to clean the electoral roll, reform the postal ballot system, indelible ink, a minimum 21-day campaign period, free and fair access to the media, strengthen public institutions, stop corruption and dirty politics.
Abdul Aziz pointed out that only the first four of the eight demands were relevant to the EC. “SPR cleans the electoral roll every day,” he stressed.
“But what is said to be phantom voters are actually voters who do not live at the place where they vote. On polling day, they go back to vote (but) do not inform the JPN (National Registration Department) or SPR. They are valid voters,” added the EC chief.
Abdul Aziz noted that the postal ballot system could not be removed because many members of the army, police and Malaysian citizens were overseas, whom he said had a right to vote.
“Among the improvements we made were getting rid of envelopes A and B, not using identity forms, but having them vote like other voters on polling day…this will be done during the 13th general election,” he said.
The EC head further stressed that the federal constitution must be amended if indelible ink was introduced.
“Because in the constitution, only certain individuals cannot vote, but it doesn’t state anything about those with ink on their fingers,” said Abdul Aziz.
He added that the EC was open to discussing the duration of the campaign period, but said: “However, not the 21 days as demanded.”
The EC used to have 21-day campaign periods until 1969 when race riots broke out two days after the general election held on May 11 that year.
The last general election in March 2008 had a campaign period of 13 days and some Umno leaders have privately said the lengthy campaign had allowed their political foes more time on the stump and receive more votes.
Election 2008 saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) suffering historic losses as it could not reach its customary two-third parliamentary majority and four more states fell to the opposition, which later formed the informal PR pact.