Election And Democracy In Malaysia

February 15, 2008 16:08 PM
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 (Bernama) — The general election will see 10.9 million voters exercising their right to choose a government under the nation’s democratic system.
Nomination day falls on Feb 24, followed by polling day on March 8.
The general election gives the people the right to choose elected representatives, from candidates nominated by political parties or those who stand as independents, in Parliament or the Dewan Rakyat at federal level and the State Legislative Assembly.
The political party which wins the majority of seats in the Dewan Rakyat will form the government at federal level, while the political party which secures the majority of seats in the State Assembly will helm the state government.
Election is an important aspect in a country which practices the system of democracy, like Malaysia.
The election process in Malaysia is handled by an independent body known as the Election Commission (EC), which normally, introduces several changes in every election.
For the current general election, it will be the use of transparent ballot boxes and indelible ink to ensure it is fair, open and transparent.
Since gaining independence five decades ago, world leaders have sung praises of Malaysia’s ability to sustain democracy through fair elections.
Such praise, coupled with congratulatory messages which Malaysia normally receives after every general election, reflects the confidence of the world leaders in its election system.
Among world leaders who have praised Malaysia are United States President George W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, as well as leaders of ASEAN member countries.
Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye has expressed confidence that the coming general election would be more transparent, following measures taken by the EC.
The freedom given to the people to choose their candidates and the acceptance of the result of a general election by all quarters, are indications of a democratic process.
Lee said the introduction of transparent boxes, indelible ink and absence of serial numbers on ballot papers, showed there was democracy in the process.
Democracy in Malaysian elections is also evident, with there being no bloodshed, unlike in some countries. During an Asean member country’s election in 2001, its police force focussed on security to prevent untoward incidents.
According to Lee, despite stiff competition among political parties contesting for seats, the election process was carried out smoothly as all quarters make an effort to ensure no untoward incident.