Press Statement, 29 April 2013
Stop Fuelling the Violence
BERSIH 2.0 strongly condemns recent incidents of political violence. The 10th day of campaign saw several incidents of political violence related to explosives or homemade bombs at several Barisan Nasional operation centres, namely in Jelapang and Sekinchan. In another case, arson was committed at a private residence on the vehicle of Dr Xavier Jayakumar’s daughter, Sangetha. Dr. Xavier Jayakumar is the candidate for Sri Andalas state seat in Selangor for Parti Keadilan Rakyat. A petrol “bomb” was used and the car was burnt by unidentified persons. The neighbour who tried to raise alarm was also threatened. We are concerned that these actions have already created fear among voters, with the perception that perpetrators of political violence can act with impunity.
In addition, death threats against the family of caretaker Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guang Eng was also received via SMS and a phonecall to DAP’s headquarters.
Politicians further fuelled the violence by making inappropriate public statements clearly aimed at gaining political mileage, regardless of the consequences on the rakyat. We call on MCA President, Chua Soi Lek to provide evidence to back up his claim that the violence was caused by the Opposition sowing hatred among the voters and supporters. His statement that their members may react the same way in response to violence is uncalled for.
BERSIH 2.0 urgently calls on caretaker governments at the Federal and State level as well as relevant bodies to ensure, in accordance to the law, that all participants of GE13 do not create or instil fear among voters over the rising political violence which. We are concerned that this fear will eventually prevent them from exercising their right to vote on May 5. BERSIH 2.0 strongly urges caretaker governments to immediately take constructive actions to uphold and protect the democratic rights of the voters.
During this monitoring period, BERSIH 2.0 is heartened that there is a better reporting by members of the print media and journalists on political violence without manipulating the facts to smear and assassinate the character of any candidates or parties. The same however, could not be said about Barisan National’s ubiquitous advertisements, which often carried messages that the opposition would cause unrest and destabilise the peace and harmony of the nation. These messages cannot be reasonably said to be based on facts and evidence, and instead seemed to be aimed at ‘brainwashing’ viewers through fearmongering.
Further, it was also reported that leaflets alleging that DAP candidate Lim Kiat Siang was responsible for the May 13 incident were distributed in Skudai by persons identified as BN campaigners. Such fearmongering tactics and use of racial sentiments is contemptible. However, we commend the swift response by the Caretaker Chief Minister of Johor, Abdul Ghani Othman, who condemned the flyers and the use of “sensitive issues” during the elections campaign.
On this note, BERSIH 2.0 affirms its commitment to assist in a clean and fair elections and urges the voters to be confident in exercising their free will on polling day. BERSIH 2.0 calls upon candidates and supporters on both political divide to clean up their acts and demonstrates fair play in their campaigns throughout the GE13. Neither fear nor gutter politics should be used as a tool to influence voters.
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), ZaidKamaruddin (co-chair), Yap SweeSeng, Jerald Joseph, Liza Bong, Anne Lasimbang, and Dr Farouk Musa.
Incidents Observed Since 25 April 2013
24 April – A BN operation centre in Sekinchan was damaged after two Molotov cocktails were thrown at it by unknown person or persons.
25 April – In Klang, a car belonging to the daughter of PKR candidate Dr Xavier Jayakumar was burnt when a petrol bomb was thrown.
25 April – Lim Guan Eng filed a police report over a death threat he received on Monday via SMS. It was reportedly that the SMS threatened Lim Guan Eng that his wife and son will be killed if he is re-elected as chief minister of Penang.
25 April – Three men threw a petrol bomb at a Barisan Nasional operation centre in Jelapang.
26 April – At the Simpang Lima roundabout, campaign posters belonging to BN candidate DatukMaglin Dennis D’Cruz were allegedly torn down.
26 April – It was reported that flyers alleging DAP candidate Lim Kiat Siang to be responsible for the May 13 incident was distributed in Skudai, Johor.
26 April – A PEMANTAU observer reported that a mass SMS from an unknown number instigating racial hatred between the Malays and Chinese were circulated to registered voters.
27 April – A police report was lodged by an Election Commission’s officer after he was threatened when the vehicle he was in stopped at an operations room while on duty in Kubang Semang, Penang the previous day.
27 April – PKR candidate Fuziah Salleh filed a police report over an SMS that carried connotations of sexual harassment, which she received earlier in the morning.
27 April – It was reported that a temporary Barisan Nasional operations post in Kampung Padang was torched.
27 April – A threat involving the son of Caretaker Penang Chief Minister was reportedly received by an unidentified caller at the DAP headquarters.
Other violations with regards to the Code of Conduct for Participants of the 13th General Election and Caretaker Government Guidelines
27 April – It was reported that Datuk Seri Dr Ali, Chief Secretary to the Government attended an event organised by the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry two days ago, where selected 30 Sungai Siput residents were given RM300 financial assistance.
For a previous list of violations, please refer to our previous statements on the BERSIH 2.0 website.