25 September 2007
BERSIH, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, urges the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to speed up its investigation into alleged corrupt practices and vote-buying in the Layar and Krian constituencies in the May 2006 Sarawak state elections.
BERSIH is of the opinion that the ACA should take a more active role in ensuring that elections in the country are clean, free and fair. The probe is understood to have started in July, almost a year after defeated candidates Dayrell Walter Entrie and his father, Stanley Jugol, lodged reports with the ACA. Entrie and Jugol lodged the reports after the Election Court struck off their applications to nullify the election of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang in Layar and Assistant Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture Datuk Peter Nyarok in Krian on grounds of corrupt practices and vote-buying.
The applications were struck off on technical grounds at the preliminary stage of the hearing of the petitions. The existing laws governing election do not provide sufficient checks on election fraud as applications to Election Court are usually struck off at the initial stage, leaving many fraud issues unaddressed.
There is an urgent need for reforms to the existing laws to empower an independent Election Commission to prosecute law breakers in the electoral process.
In the meantime, ACA and other authorities, such as the Police vested with powers to investigate election fraud, should step up their efforts to ensure the integrity of the electoral process, on which the legitimacy of the government of the day is based on.
BERSIH Steering Commitee:
Syed Shahir Syed Muhamad, MTUC President
YB Teresa Kok, MP for Seputeh
Sivarasa Rasiah, Vice-President of Parti KeAdilan Rakyat
Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, Director of PAS Research Centre
Dr Syed Azman, PAS Central Committee Member
S. Arutchelvan, PSM Secretary-General
V. Gayathry, Executive Director of CIJ
Yap Swee Seng, Executive Director of Suaram
Wong Chin Huat, Chairperson of WAMI
ACA must speed up investigation