Press Statement, 23 November 2012
BERSIH 2.0 welcomes the positive actions by the Election Commission (EC) this week, in which the commission met with Members of Parliament and acknowledged the numerous discrepancies in the electoral roll. We are pleased that the EC is having open discussions with the MPs and hope that this process continues regularly.
Furthermore, BERSIH 2.0 lauds the announcement that a special unit to rid the voter roll of dubious entries will be set up in collaboration with the Public Service Department (PSD). However, we wish to urge that this unit should be set up after the EC has consulted the various stakeholders and that the input from various electoral reforms groups should be considered. We also hope that the EC will regularly publish updates on the progress of this unit, so that the public can be properly informed ahead of the elections.
Following this, the EC has also promised to make public the new regulations concerning overseas voters and their eligibility to cast their ballot in the next elections. This is long overdue and BERSIH 2.0 urges the EC to ensure that this will be resolved before the end of the current parliamentary session which will come to a close next Friday.
However, on the issue of overseas voters, we wish to reiterate our objections to the condition set by the EC that these voters must return to Malaysia at least once in a five-year period “to show their loyalty to the country. If they do not come back, they will not know the national political course; who is MP. This is not fair,” according to its deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
In fact, it is the requirement by the EC which is not just unfair but also arbitrary. Such a ruling cannot be forced on voters merely based on the EC’s assumptions that a Malaysian who lives abroad does not keep abreast with national politics.
Thus, BERSIH 2.0 views the latest moves by the EC as a step in the right direction, but only if the commission carries out these actions with the clear aim of ensuring free and fair elections for all Malaysians.
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee
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., Awang Abdillah (Kuching), Dominic Hii (Sibu), Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rias, Liau Kok Fah, Mark Bujang (Miri), Maria Chin Abdullah, Niloh Ason (Kuching), Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.