MEDIA STATEMENT (18 DECEMBER 2017): EC and the Courts Must Act in the Interest of the Voter in Delineation Matters

The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) is disappointed with the Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the Election Commission (EC) to proceed with the execution of local enquiries for parliamentary and state constituencies in Selangor, setting aside the decision by the High Court.
BERSIH 2.0 finds that the push by the EC for a judgement at the courts is not in the interest of pursuing its mandate of ensuring clean and fair elections, nor does it mean to enshrine and protect the rights of the voter; but rather the judicial avenues are used to advance and implement unfair delineation boundaries for the upcoming elections, given the EC’s discretionary powers under existing laws and the fact that the substance and underlying issues in the objection has yet to be decided on.
Despite the ample time for EC to complete its delineation exercise, the EC has chosen to propel the cases on re-delineation forward despite significant objections on grounds of missing addresses, malapportionment, gerrymandering to name a few. To proceed to hold local enquiries without establishing nor resolving the concerns addressed in the objections in the courts will result in

  1. Ineffectiveness by way of implementation,
  2. Waste of government resources, and
  3. Failure to take into account electoral best practices and respect for the right of voters.

The expediency of the delineation matters pushed through courts at lightning speed does not allow sufficient time to respond to developments in the case, as illustrated below:
7th Dec   | Stay on the local enquiry was granted at High Court
11th Dec | Selangor government received notice of the appeal
14th Dec | First hearing
18th Dec | Second hearing and decision
The EC and the courts are avenues of justice and a recourse to address errors and wrongs in electoral matters. They must act for the people and in the interest of the people; and as such, they should not follow the government’s election calendar when dealing with issues of re-delineation.
“The rights of the voter is the basis for any democracy. Without a voter, there is no basis for a government. The constitution empowers the people to choose their own government. As such, it is the role of the EC and all government bodies to respect, uphold and protect the interest and rights of the voter,” says BERSIH Chairperson, Maria Chin Abdullah.
Despite the impracticality of holding local enquiries at a time when most Malaysians will be on holiday or celebrating the New Year, local enquiries are expected to take place anytime, possibly as early as next week.
BERSIH 2.0 calls on those who filed objections against unfair delineation in Selangor, in September 2016 to be on stand-by and expect to receive a notice from the EC soon. If you do not receive the notice within one week, do call the EC at this number (03 5519 4273) to ensure that you do not miss the enquiry, and the opportunity to make your objections heard and represented.
For further information, please contact BERSIH 2.0 at 011-2860-5720 or send an email to [email protected].
Issued by:
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee