Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bersih 3.0 : Why You Should Join

For many years, even decades, we, rakyat has been holding our silence on the fraud electoral system. Our most basic democratic right has been robbed and abused by the unscrupulous parties and its cohorts to safeguard its control over us.

But the silence has been broken in July 2007 when 10,000 to 40,000 of ordinary people marched to streets of KL to voice out for an electoral reform. Four year later, Bersih 2.0 returned once again with a vengeance on July 2011. Over 50,000 people, without any reference of the skin colours, braced through tear gas and police brutality to demand the clean and fair electoral system. 

Sadly, the voice from rakyat fell on deaf ears again. Though Parliarmentary Seat Committee has submit its recommendations for electoral reform but on April 19th 2012, many Bills were rushed through Parliament – one of them was Election Offences Act 1954. The amendments further undermine the promised initiatives of electoral reform.

From Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan in Bersih 2.0 official website:
1.         Those that publish defamatory, racist and sexist remarks may do so with impunity
Section 11(c) which had required any print materials to have the names and addresses of its printer and publisher is DELETED IN FULL.

This means that anyone can now put up anonymous defamatory, racist or sexist posters without identifying the publisher or printer.  Poison posters will now become standard fare.  This goes completely against Bersih 2.0’s demand to end dirty politics.

2.         Election monitoring at EC’s discretion
s14 1(A) is replaced with a clause which allows the Election Commission to appoint time slots to determine when polling agents or counting agents of a candidate may be present.  Therefore the time when an agent of a candidate is allowed into the Polling Station is no longer fixed and is now left to the discretion of the EC  to decide. They are free to remove Agents from Polling Station at will.

The reality is that polling and counting agents are usually appointed by the candidate and this ensures a more transparent process. However, with the new amendment there are possibilities of abuse. The time schedule is best understood by the candidates as they organise their agents according to their time availability, as most of them are volunteers.  If the time schedule is at the discretion of the EC, this may mean that different persons are being rotated and this does not allow the agents to observe inconsistencies systematically. Worse, when such a time schedule is applied during vote counting, as it again may open up opportunities for mis-counting.

3.         Curbing candidates and their staff from checking on identity of voters
S26 1(e) which allowed for checking of the identity of any person entering a polling centre is DELETED IN FULL.
The implication is that candidates and its election staff are not allowed to check on the identity of voters to establish if they are genuine or even to help them to identify if they are at the correct polling station. This also means that phantom voters or multiple voters will not be detected. The 50m exclusion zone outside the Polling Centre is now extended to 100m or more, depending on what the EC to decide. This makes it impossible for election monitors to see anything illegal going on.
It will also make it impossible to see if a voter is marked with indelible ink thus minimizing its effect.

4.         Election agent or candidate disallowed at election booths (barong)
s26A Sub-section (2) and (3) are DELETED IN FULL. This means that all channels of election observation are sealed off as it now does not allow election candidates and staff to observe the registration of voters during polling day. Such an amendment opens up possibilities of abuse and fraud. There will be no more Barung Observers who were previously the only non-EC people able to look at the IC of the voter and pick up discrepancies. This is a major blow to the plans to weed out phantom voters. They can now walk in freely and the Polling Agent (even if he is allowed into the Polling Station) will have no opportunity to look at the IC of the voter. The same point about indelible ink made above, will apply.

Why you should join  Bersih 3.0?
This is not about political demonstration. This is all about our basic democratic right, which is to choose a legitimate government from a clean and fair election.
This is not about nuisance and obstruction to the country. Our nuisance and we are facing now is the obstruction to our basic democratic right to choose a legitimate government,
The recent development on Bersih 3.0 until today:
1.      DBKL has rejected the permit to organize Bersih 3.0 rally at Dataran Merdeka on the basis that iconic Dataran Merdeka is meant for national sporting events or cultural in nature. I do not know why the mayor is so stubborn since his crony said that the rally has no threat to national security. DBKL does not own Dataran Merdeka, it only acts as caretaker of the iconic venue. Dataran Merdeka belongs to the rakyat!
2.      City police will not allow Berish 3.0 rally to proceed as due to security reasons. WTH? Now the rakyat pose security threat to the country? Why is so contradicting to its boss statement “no security threat” to the country. So who is the boss now?

Come on, Malaysia, rise up, and voice out! Return  basic democratic rights to us!

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