Where are Our Elections Headed?


Press Statement, 25 April 2013

Where are Our Elections Headed?

With the escalating severity of political violence, BERSIH 2.0 questions where our elections are heading to. The Malaysian Police recently announced that a total of 1,056 cases of election-related violence and misdemeanours have been recorded since the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat on April 3 (as of 23 April 2013), with 387 such cases recorded since nomination day. BERSIH 2.0 is especially alarmed at the continued incidents of physical assault on party workers and non-party individuals in Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Johor and Pahang.
In Penang, an explosion occurred in Nibong Tebal during a BN ceramah on April 23, causing injuries to a man. The police found a second bomb near to the BN operation center in Nibong Tebal and detonated it early Wednesday morning.
In Perak,  it was reported that the Barisan Nasional candidate for Batu Gajah, Dato Hamidah Othman allegedly pulled the collar of Parti Keadilan Rakyat candidate Lee Boon Chye and confiscated a camera belong to a party worker and threw it to the ground during a scuffle between both parties. This is highly uncalled for. Disagreements should be resolved amicably without resorting to threats or violence of any kind. Thus BERSIH 2.0 has decided to include Dato Hamidah Othman as the third person on BERSIH 2.0’s blacklist for political violence, after Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
In Kelantan, another serious stabbing incident was reported in Kelantan. A stall owner was stabbed after he refused to allow any political parties to put up flags at his shop.
In Johor, an assistant of the DAP candidate for Senai state seat, Suki Wong, was reportedly physically assaulted at a stall in the evening of April 22 and suffered minor body and head injuries. Meanwhile, it was reported that the three windows of the campaign car of DAP candidate for Bakri, Er Teck Hwa were smashed by unknown thugs.
In Pahang, a reporter from Nanyang Siang Pau was reportedly threatened by workers in a BN operation center in Indera Mahkota on April 21 as she was misconstrued as trying to create disruption when she was covering BN’s election preparation work. Another photo journalist from China Press was punched by a man from a group of bikers wearing 1Malaysia blue T-shirts last night. The bikers were disrupting a ceramah by DAP in Bukit Gelugor, Penang.
Amidst many incidents of vandalised party flags and damaged campaign materials, there were also incidents of young motorists disrupting ceramahs and even attempting to knock down people.
BERSIH 2.0 condemns all forms of political violence. We call on all candidates and political parties to be transparent, accountable, and non-violent in all their campaigning activities. Malaysians should be able to expect no less than for them to uphold the highest possible standard of ethical behaviour.
We welcome the immediate public statement of the Opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who condemned unequivocally the perpetrators of the explosion in Nibong Tebal.
We are appreciative of the efforts by the Malaysian Police in taking swift action against political violence and giving regular updates to the public on incidences happening nationwide. We urge the police to investigate this case from all angles, as such acts to discredit political opponents and frighten their supporters cannot be ruled out. The investigation result should be made public and the perpetrators be charged.
Meanwhile, the list of misconduct continues with flagrant violations by caretaker governments, candidates, and political parties. BERSIH 2.0 received a report that Raja Nong Chik, the BN candidate for Lembah Pantai, misused his position as the Federal Territories Minister to send letters to voters using the Minister’s official letterhead. In addition, it was also reported that the Perak education department sent a circular warning teachers not to be involved in “anti-government” activities, including attending Pakatan Rakyat events or even watching videos that could be construed as such.
We call on caretaker governments to immediately cease abuses of government resources and machinery. The Election Commission must take action on these abuses.
Thank you.
Special Committee on Code of Conduct
On behalf of the Steering Committee of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)
The Special Committee comprises:
Irene Fernandez (co-chair), Zaid Kamaruddin (co-chair), Yap Swee Seng, Jerald Joseph, Liza Bong, Anne Lasimbang, and Dr Farouk Musa.

Incidents Observed Since 19 April 2013

Political Violence
20 April – Banners for BN candidate Tan Kok Eng were vandalised at Bandar Tun Razak.
20 April – Misogynistic attacks were made against Michelle Yeoh on her Facebook page after publicly supporting Barisan Nasional.
20 April – PEMANTAU observers were harassed in Kampar and Lembah Pantai by BN supporters.
20 April –  PEMANTAU reported that PAS’ Unit Amal attempted to prevent PKR candidate Badrul Hisham Shaharin from entering the nomination. He was also physically assaulted during the incident.
20 April – PEMANTAU reported that a car window was smashed in Gombak during nomination day.
21 April – Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar stated that the police received reports in Johor that some employers threatened their employees in an attempt to force them to vote for certain party. This would be classified as “undue” influence under the Election Offences Act 1954.
21 April – A stall owner was stabbed in Kelantan for refusing to allow any party flags to be put up at his shop.
21 April – A reporter from Nanyang Siang Pau was threatened by the workers at the BN operation center in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan when covering news on the election campaign preparation of BN at its operation center. She was forced to delete photos of the threats against her in her camera.
22 April – 100 BN flags were alleged to be deliberately damaged in Bakri.
22 April – Individuals broke chairs at PKR’s operation centre in DM 12, PJS 4. Threats were also made against party workers and supporters at the centre.
22 April – BN candidate Datuk Hamidah Othman allegedly confiscated a PKR worker’s camera and pulled the collar of PKR candidate Dr Lee Boon Chye at Batu Gajah.
22 April – The police arrested 11 workers putting up party flags for possessing dangerous weapons early in the morning at two different locations in Penang, Queensbay and Kampung Benggali, Butterworth.
22 April – A sabotaged BN billboard was spotted in Brickfields.
23 April – The side window of one of DAP’s campaign vehicles was found smashed in Bakri, Johor.
23 April – About 40 flags belonging a Pakatan Rakyat party were reported found torched and vandalised in the Pasir Gudang constituency, Johor.
23 April – Vandalised BN flags were reported in Mas Gading, Sarawak.
23 April – An explosion occurred in Nibong Tebal during ceramah of BN, causing injury to one man.
24 April – Another explosive device was found near to the operation center of BN in Nibong Tebal in the early morning after the police swept the area following the first explosion.
25 April – A photo journalist from China Press was punched by a man from a group of bikers wearing one Malaysian blue T-shirt disrupting a ceramah of DAP in Bukit Gelugor, Penang.
Other violations with regards to the Code of Conduct for Participants of the 13th General Election and Caretaker Government Guidelines
18 April – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that artists can look forward to buying houses under the 1Malaysia People Housing (PR1MA) programme through a specially-tailored financing scheme.
19 April – Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Deputy Minister Datuk M. Saravanan announced that Indian taxi drivers can take loans to purchase taxis from a new RM50 million scheme by the Special Secretariat For Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs (SEED).
19 April – Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak announced that single mothers nationwide will receive a 1Malaysia discount card.
20 April – PEMANTAU reported that a UNIMAP van was seen at the nomination centre for the Alor Setar constituency.
20 April – PEMANTAU reported that RM30 were being given out in a tent allegedly belonging to BN in Nibong Tebal.
20 April – It was reported on social media networks that six students from UUM were tricked into attending the nomination of candidates during nomination day. These students were initially told they were attending a community service event in Sungai Petani and Alor Setar.
21 April – BN candidate for the Chempaka constituency Wan Razman said that an allocation of RM20,000 was approved by the federal government through the Federal Development Department to build new fencing for the Kampung Jambu Muslim cemetery.
22 April – In Sarawak, media personnel covering nominations for the Sibuti parliamentary constituency were allegedly prevented from entering the nomination centre despite showing their official media pass.
23 April – Kuala Penyu Municipal Council vehicles were reportedly used at a BN campaign event organised by Yayasan Sabah.
For a previous list of violations, please refer to our previous statements on the BERSIH 2.0 website.