(Malaysiakini) Anwar: Pressure on EC must continue

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has called on the public to step up pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to reform itself.In reference to several recent announcements by the EC, Anwar said the commission had thus far only shown knee-jerk responses after a series of electoral fraud exposés.

“For the first time, EC is enduring so much pressure that it has to respond,” said Anwar at an electoral reform rally organised by pressure group Bersih at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He urged the public to show up in full force on Nov 10 at a ‘mass gathering’ in Putrajaya to call for electoral reforms.
Anwar’s comments comes in the wake of the latest announcement by EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman yesterday, who strongly hinted that the elections would be called soon.
Previously, Abdul Rashid had also called for electoral reforms but his bid to improve the electoral process have thus far been limited to providing a transparent ballot box and forcing voters who are still using old-IC’s to verify their status.
The EC had also agreed in principle, to the use of indelible ink to prevent multiple voting but is awaiting feedback from the National Fatwa Council. The use of the ink is one of the core demands by Bersih.
International observers

Anwar, the final speaker among a long list at the rally last night, vowed to pile in the pressure overseas by speaking about the state of electoral process at international conferences and meetings.
He also announced plans to invite the renowned US-based Carter Centre, to monitor the upcoming general election. The centre is an NGO that has among others, monitored 68 elections in 26 countries.
“The Umno government will definitely say that this will tarnish the country’s image. I wish to tell them that the only way to save Malaysia’s image is to expose the problems within the electoral system.
“Thus I believe the theme for the 50th National Day should be Selamatkan Negara Malaysia (Save Malaysia),” said Anwar to roaring approval from the 2,000 strong crowd.
In his speech, Anwar alleged that Umno was going to distribute thousands of video discs accusing the opposition of inciting violence and disturbing public order.
He claimed that the title of the disc is Evolusi atau Revolusi (Evolution or Revolution).
‘How to topple BN’
Reiterating claims made last month in Kelantan, Anwar said Umno was planning to bring 40,000 ‘phantom’ voters from southern Thailand in a bid to wrest the state from PAS.
“Umno had identify 70 parliamentary seats that is in danger and may fall into the hands of the opposition, thus they will do whatever it takes to retain it,” he added.
In order to topple the government that had been ruling for 50 years, Anwar said the opposition has to secure at least 56 percent of the popular vote.
“The highest managed by the opposition was 48 percent. So if we continue to preach to the converted and maintain our current pace, it is not enough to change the government. We need to attract BN supporters to our cause,” he said.
The rally last night was also attended by PAS president Abdul Hadi Abdul Awang, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Malaysian Trade Union Congress president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud.
Bersih comprises of 26 NGOs and five opposition political parties. The rally last night was the first in a series of planned roadshows to create awareness on the need for electoral reforms.