The rematch between Bersih and Election Commission took place this afternoon with PROHAM, a human rights NGO, playing host. Minus the booing the EC’s speaker-Wan Ahmad still suffered a thrashing from Ambiga, showing the asymmetry between an unqualified Election administrator and a civil society legal heavyweight. While contesting on whether the EC has jurisdiction over taking action on offenses under Election Offenses Act the EC claimed that they had been directed by the Attorney General to leave enforcement to MACC-which never charge anyone for vote buying, for a record!
The Bersih chair pointed to the relevant section of the law which empower the Enforcement Team to take action on all offenses under the Election Offenses Act-including corruption cases. So there is a really big contradiction between what the Attorney General directed and what the law says in black and white. Who is to decide which is right? Should the next debate be between the Attorney General and Ambiga? Even the presence of a more `intellectual’ back up for Wan Ahmad on both occasion did not help to show him to be equal to the job in front of him to debate his opponent!
In Indonesia there is a Constitutional Court which can deliver a decision over contradiction between laws and conflicts between different interpretations of the laws. Eg in a spectacular case just before the last Presidential elections a complaint was filed by voters who are not happy that there were still 25% of citizens who were not registered as voters-and therefore denied their voting rights. In a judgement delivered within 2 weeks of the filing of complaint-without any assistance by lawyers, the Indonesain Constitutional Court ruled that, in order to uphold the Constitutionally guaranteed voting rights all citizens can vote by showing their personal Identity Card!
Malaysia does not have a Constitutional Court. This makes it difficult when there are laws where the authority choose to mis-interpret them. Other than the above contention over the power of the EC there is also another contention over whether MACC were the right one to take action on the Election Offenses Act, with the MACC refusing publicly to deal with offenses under Election Offenses Act at a few public forums in the last 2 years. The Attorney General certainly is not doing his job when he directed the EC to leave the corruption cases to MACC and then refusing to make the MACC take up the corruption cases involved. The grave consequences: the elections are compromised as more and more blatant vote buying is happening throughout the years!
If there is any benefit from the debates the public can now see that the Attorney General is not safeguarding the rule of laws-but negating the people’s protection under the laws by keeping conflicting views of the laws between the government agencies such that the essential laws are left un-enforced!
For keeping such conflicting views of the laws to be operating between the government agencies the Attorney General should resign on this account alone!