Press Statement: 17 January 2011
BERSIH 2.0 Launches JOM 100 for 100% Voter Turnout at GE-13
In the 2008 general election, 8.16 million voters exercised their right to vote for their representatives to Parliament. This figure was about 76% out of the total number of registered voters in 2008 of 10.7 million. However, nearly 5 million Malaysians eligible to vote were unable to do so as they had not registered. Based on these figures, approximately 7 million eligible voters did not vote during the previous general election!
BERSIH 2.0 would like to announce our latest campaign – JOM 100, a campaign targeting for 100% voter turnout in the upcoming 13th General Election (GE-13).
|Why 100% voter turnout?
1. 100% voter turnout strengthens democracy
Citizens of Malaysia must take charge of our country by firstly participating in electing the leaders of our nation. Citizens have the right to demand that government decisions be made to reflect the people’ needs. Citizens also have the responsibility of holding government accountable for its decisions. It is us, the people, who must reclaim our rights to re-shape the future of our country and the future of the next generation of Malaysians. Therefore, it is imperative for all eligible voters to vote come GE-13.
2. 100% voter turnout will mitigate electoral fraud and poor delineation of constituencies
In the past year, countless exposés of electoral fraud by civil society organisations, concerned citizens and political parties have placed the pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to take immediate and stern action to eradicate electoral fraud. Instead of a reduction of fraud, more allegations of electoral fraud have surfaced. The EC has acted slowly in dealing with electoral fraud.
In the past few decades, constituency redelineation exercises have been manipulated to ensure certain constituencies will be easily won by the ruling coalition. The EC has stated that it will not conduct a redelineation exercise before GE-13. Any reform involving delineation of constituencies will only take place after GE-13.
Therefore, the only way to reduce the impact of electoral fraud and poorly delineated constituencies on the results of elections is to ensure high voter turnout.
3. 100% voter turnout to support electoral reform
BERSIH 2.0 calls on all citizens of Malaysia who believe that our electoral system needs to be reformed to actively rally your friends, family and community to come out to vote or to register to vote. A high voter turnout will send a signal to the winner of the GE-13, regardless of their political affiliations, that voters of Malaysia want the next government to institute democratic reforms immediately, including a thorough reform of the electoral system.
Based on the reasons above, BERSIH 2.0’s JOM 100 campaign is to actively call on all citizens of Malaysia to take their voice to the ballot box. For this campaign, we will be having nationwide programmes to bring this message to all citizens of Malaysia. The programmes will begin after Chinese New Year.
BERSIH 2.0 is also concerned with the lack of commitment on the part of the EC to enfranchise Malaysians living abroad and Malaysians who live a considerable distance away from their constituencies such as Sabahans and Sarawakians living in peninsular Malaysia and vice versa. These groups of voters have long been deprived of their right to vote as absent voters as defined under the Federal Constitution. The EC must immediately institute the necessary changes to enfranchise these groups of absent voters to ensure they will be able to vote in the GE-13.
BERSIH 2.0 calls on all concerned citizens to support the JOM 100 campaign by taking the opportunity of the Chinese New Year festivities to encourage friends and family to vote in GE-13 or to register to vote immediately. The future of this country is the responsibility of every citizen and we must rise to the occasion when our democratic rights are being taken from us.
Announcement of new Steering Committee members
BERSIH 2.0 would also like to take this opportunity to announce and welcome two new members of the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee who are Datuk A. Samad Said and Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab.
Datuk A. Samad Said or more popularly known as Pak Samad is no stranger to the BERSIH 2.0 movement. Pak Samad is a National Laureate who has been actively championing various causes including the right to mother-tongue language and more recently, democratic rights. In the lead up to the BERSIH 2.0 rally, Pak Samad became a key figure in speaking up to defend the democratic rights of all Malaysians. Due to this, Pak Samad has been invited to join the Steering Committee as Co-Chairperson together with current Chairperson Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab is a student activist and President of Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM). Ahmad Shukri has been vocal in empowering students to reclaim their rights to academic freedom and speaking out against injustices. The NGO endorsees of BERSIH 2.0 nominated Ahmad Shukri to provide a space for increasing participation of youths in campaigning for electoral reform and democratic rights.
As Malaysia moves closer towards GE-13, the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee and NGO endorsees express our on-going commitment towards securing reforms of the electoral system.
Salam BERSIH 2.0!
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Khoo, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Dr Farouk Musa, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.