Malaysia

IDEAS says saddened by TI-M’s EC snub

January 07, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) has expressed disappointment over the decision of Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) to decline an invitation from the Election Commission (EC) to be an accredited observer at the 13th General Election (GE13).

IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan (picture) said both parties had been talking to each other for many months on the project and TI-M had never given any indication it was considering to withdraw.

“I am disappointed to read TI-M’s sudden decision to decline the EC’s invitation to be an accredited election observer. I regret this situation.

“On Thursday (January 3), I was at TI-M’s office in Petaling Jaya, discussing how best to co-ordinate our work on election observation with them.

“The meeting lasted for almost five hours, finishing about 10.30pm. I was shocked when, at 3pm on Friday, TI-M informed me that it had already informed the EC on its withdrawal,” he said in a statement here today.

Earlier today, TI-M declined the EC offer to take part as one of five local observers at the GE13.

TI-M is the third group to decline the invitation after the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) and election monitoring non-governmental organisation National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (NIEI).

Apart from TI-M, other groups invited by EC as local observers are Centre for Public Policy Studies, which is under the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI), Malaysian Youth Council and IDEAS.

Wan Saiful said: “In our last meeting with the EC on Dec 13, all the organisations, including TI-M, came to a compromise regarding the terms and conditions.

“Indeed, there are issues that we agreed to disagree with the EC, and the EC also agreed to disagree with us. If TI-M had such strong reservations, why did they not put a strong argument to the EC when we were sitting face-to-face with them?” he asked.

Wan Saiful said he was worried that by withdrawing at the last-minute and without discussing the bigger picture with other organisations involved in the observation mission, TI-M was inadvertently and unintentionally helping those who were bent on painting a wrong picture on the election observation mission and the organisations involved in it. — Bernama