(Harakah Daily) Coalition for clean and fair elections launched

Oleh Saadon Aksah
Thu | Nov 23, 06
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23(Hrkh) – Opposition parties, non-governmental organizations and trade union today outlined their demand for a “clean” and fair election and demanded that Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman and secretary Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Nor resign if they failed to meet the demand.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (BERSIH) spokesperson Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud demanded that for the “immediate short term”, the EC implement the use of indelible ink as practiced in Indonesia and India to prevent multiple votings and the abolishment of postal votes except for diplomats and “other overseas voters”.
It also called for a “complete revision” of the electoral roll to ensure that the existing irregularities were removed and that a roll with “full integrity” put in place.
“We have received a lot of complaints from the public with regard to the conduct of the (general) election in 2004,” Syed Shahir who is also Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president said at a press conference held at the Parliament lobby here.
Noting recent media reports where the EC had withdrawn some 180,000 names in the electoral voters list, Syed Shahir said the admission only corroborates on suspicions of the integrity of the electoral rolls.
“We must work from now on to ensure that we have a clean and fair election,” he said referring to the next general election which many speculated to be held on the later half of next year.
Others on the “long term reform agenda” for a clean and fair election as pursued by BERSIH were the dismantling of the present laws which resulted in a monopoly of print and broadcast media by the ruling party’s “proxies”, legal provisions for campaigning, and the lack of the independence of the EC.
It also called for the need to “correct the incredibly high disproportionality” because Malaysia’s Westminster type of elections or the “first-past-the-post” system could lead to – as exemplified in the last general election, 64 per cent popular votes won by the ruling coalition translating into 91 percent of seats in Parliament.
Also present at the press conference include Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary general Lim Guan Eng, Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) pro tem secretary general S. Arutchelvan and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) executive director Yap Swee Seng. [ES]