The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (BERSIH) facilitated a voter to file a suit against the Election Commission (EC) and Malaysian Government through the firm AmerBon for preventing him to vote in the last Johor State Election on 12 March 2022. EC who should be responsible to guarantee voting right of a citizen has instead denied the said voter right from casting his vote because of COVID-19.
The said voter who filed the suit is a voter in DUN Skudai and is a first time voter. He had taken neccessary cautionary measures such as conducting self-test before going to the polling station but was stopped by the EC workers eventhough the test result is negative.
The suit against EC and Malaysian Government which had been filed on 8 June 2022 was based on several grounds:
- EC’s decision and action is irrational and illegal.
- The voter have the right to vote as provided in Article 119 of the Federal Constitution, Election Act 1958 and Elections (Conduct of Elections) 1981.
- Election Laws do not provide any power to the EC to deny voter’s right to vote on the grounds of infectious disease and still in quarantine period.
- Election Laws do not provide any requirement to obtain any prior permission from District Health Officer before they can vote.
- SPR had wrongfully delegated its power to District Health Officer in the matter to vote.
According to Beatrice Chin from AmerBon, although during the election there were regulations from Ministry of Health (MOH) on COVID-19, but the final say on the conduct of election is still with the EC to ensure a voter’s right is not affected.
BERSIH once again emphasized that EC, as the sole election management body in Malaysia must ensure that the election can be participated by all Malaysians who are registered as voters. There are various methods that can be used by the EC to ensure the voting process if the EC and the Malaysian Government are willing to go down to the grounds and have dialogue with various stakeholders to get more proactive measures in conducting elections, especially in the COVID-19 situation.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH