MEDIA STATEMENT (21 Jan 2015)
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) wishes to respond to the censure expressed by the former deputy chairperson of the Election Commission (EC) Wan Ahmad Wan Omar over our briefing to foreign diplomats regarding the ongoing redelineation in Sarawak as reported by The Malaysian Insider.
Wan Ahmad’s assertion that delineation is an internal matter is unsurprising but still merely wishful thinking on his part.
For one, delineation is a process that is meant to facilitate the very public matter of election of governments, hence it must be correspondingly transparent to all who have dealings with government. This essentially includes other governments of the world, via their diplomatic representatives.
Secondly, as a crucial part of the democratic process, delineation is also a necessarily public matter to ensure it is done fairly.
Here is where Wan Ahmad’s “internal matter” assertion is most revealing, because the EC has certainly been getting away with the delineation scourges of gerrymandering and malapportionment due to a lack of public scrutiny in the past, no doubt engineered by their “internal matter” stance.
It also explains the little public information from the EC on this process despite its importance as a predetermining factor of election outcomes.
As a matter of fact, this lack of information, and the confusion generated by the little that is out there in disjointed reports, is the reason BERSIH 2.0 held the briefing for diplomats, at first prompted by the request of some, which led to us eventually opening it up to other interested diplomats.
Wan Ahmad also called upon us to “let the EC do their job”. This is precisely BERSIH 2.0’s concern. The EC has certainly not been doing their job in accordance with the stipulations of the Federal Constitution to ensure a fair delineation.
In normal, truly participatory democracies, civil society plays an important role in all public spheres. BERSIH 2.0 is undertaking our part with regard to the redelineation exercise by educating voters on how they can participate in the process (see https://dart.bersih.org).
Wan Ahmad should not fault BERSIH 2.0 for wanting to inform not only fellow citizens but also the world when the EC does not see itself as an institution of democracy that serves the public.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0, which comprises –
Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Deputy Chairperson: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan; Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah; national representatives: Prof Madya Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusoff, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew; vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b. Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b. Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).