Bersih wants EC with gumption

Giam Say Khoon (The Sun)

KUALA LUMPUR (March 7, 2007): The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) wants the Election Commission (EC) to discard its bureacratic ways in tackling and responding to electoral issues. Bersih spokesman Sivarasa Rasiah said today EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has a fundamental role as the commission chairman under the Federal Constitution.

“Abdul Rashid’s power comes from the Constitution, particularly Article 113 (1), which states the commission shall conduct elections, prepare and revise electoral for elections,” he told a press conference.
Sivarasa said it was time for Abdul Rashid not to take the attitude of saying he is just a bureaucrat “waiting for instructions from the ruling government”.
“Abdul Rashid should perform like India’s election commissioner who stopped prime minister Indira Gandhi in the 1970s from manipulating the elections,” he said.
“Demands for changing the electoral process were sent to Abdul Rashid last December and we are seeking to see him. He appears to be avoiding us as he kept postponing our meeting.
“We will not stop. We will keep pushing for changes.”
Asked whether the reforms include changing the current first-past-the-post electoral system, Sivarasa said: “We want a more democratic system. Proportionate representation may be a more democratic system.
“We realise it will take a long time for us to demand and realise changes to an outdated electoral system. But we will not give up.”
The coalition’s immediate demands for the next election include:

  • check and update the voters’ list;
  • use a special ink to mark those who have voted and ensure they only vote once; and
  • abolish postal votes except for diplomats serving outside the country.