Side Views

Election commissioners must go - S. Ramakrishnan

Even though GE13 has just concluded and the election results being attested by government agencies but the bias and partial support of election commission (SPR) to allow BN to win and form the new government is still being a matter of public fretting and fuming. The Malaysian election commission has completely turned the other way when BN was violating the election spending limit of RM100,000 for seat assembly and RM200,000 for parliamentary constituencies. The Election Commission turned blissfully ignorant when the mainstream electronic and mass media were concocting lies and publishing seditious and inciting inflammatory misinformation during the whole election campaign period. The daylight abuse of government machinery and public funding was not noticed by election commission. And worse still the chairman and his assistant in election commission was speaking and behaving as though they are BN appointed agents and not head of a neutral and independent agency.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof has brushed aside calls from public for chairman and the other election commissioners to step down. He also claimed that the EC is an independent body and only the king could order the EC leadership to step down. While that being so, what is the observation of election commission appointed observers on GE13? The interim observation report on Malaysia’s 13th General Election by institute for democracy and economic affairs (IDEAS) and center for public policy studies (CPPS) have pointed the following glaring weakness in the run up to GE13.       

1.      The media was heavily biased towards BN    

2.      Government and armed forces facilities were repeatedly used during the official campaigning period

3.      The EC’s impartiality and competency were repeatedly questioned

4.      The integrity of the electoral roll continues to be questioned

5.      The Registrar of Societies is viewed as not free from partisan interference

6.      The delineation of constituencies is too unequal

7.      The financing of political parties is not transparent

8.      Ethnic minority participation in GE13 was good but manipulation of racial issues for political gains abound

With the above incompetence and impartiality of election commission, the election commissioners appointed by the king has failed miserably and let down Malaysians. GE13 clearly showed the trust deficit. People wanted to thoroughly inspect every car be it a police or an EC car bringing in ballot boxes from the counting centre to the main announcement halls. 

Election Commission did not vet returning officers regarding their political party positions. MIC branch leaders and NGO leaders affiliated to BN were appointed as returning officers. Some of these ketua tempat menggundi (returning officers) were too friendly to BN campaigners allowing them inside polling centres with their party logos on. They were all government servants and retired government servants. Why was the private sector not invited to serve as returning officers? Election Commission simply follows what it has been doing all this while. No innovation to improve the fairness and efficacy of the election process. 

The present Election commissioners have lost all moral authority to ever conduct an election. The only recourse is for them to resign enbloc and let a new team to take over. The new election commission must implement all proposals of Bersih. The sitting MPs have to keep exerting pressure on the government to replace the election commissioners. Without the change there should not be GE14. - June 22, 2013.

* S. Ramakrishnan is a former senator.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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