Side Views

Let us not forget free and fair elections — Galvin Wong

May 17, 2012

MAY 17 — The last two weeks have been filled with events that have displayed violence, disrespect and the true character of politics. On April 28, we experienced Bersih 3.0, the biggest protest in our country’s history that started off on a good note but quickly degraded into an event of confusion and violence. The days that followed were filled with allegations and blame shifting from all parties involved. After that came the burger selling and bum exercise incidents in front of Ambiga Sreenevasan’s house. And just two days ago, DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim ended a dispute he had with the party by resigning on national TV.

I write this article today not to talk about these incidents, but to remind us that all these incidents have stemmed from one issue we all fought for in July last year and in April this year — free and fair elections.

Our focus and the pressure placed on the government have both diminished and shifted away due to the many other incidents that have happened. One reason I feel the Election Commission has not done much since 2007 is because we failed to place constant pressure on them. The public scrutiny on their work came in waves, the 2007, 2011 and this year’s waves. After they weathered the short storm during these years, they went on in a business-as-usual mode, only succeeding in fulfilling ONE Bersih demand — the use of indelible ink.

The media has ceased reporting on the work of the EC in their role in ensuring cleaner and fairer elections. Partly because of the juicy newer bits of news, partly because there has been NO news from the EC since the public display of the supplementary role! Politicians themselves have also failed to follow up on the progress of the EC. Pakatan Rakyat, after vigorously championing for clean and fair elections before Bersih 3.0, has not mentioned this issue in the past weeks. It is said that Malaysians are notoriously forgetful. Being our leaders, it is part of their responsibility to remind us about unresolved issues we care about that we may forget from time to time.

We must remember that elections are not far off; various analysts predict that it will be in late June, early July. Prime Minister Najib Razak, if he is really serious about winning fairly should postpone elections until all major Parliamentary Select Committee recommendations are implemented. Let us not be distracted but keep our focus during this period. Only through consistent public scrutiny and pressure can we ensure those who marched on April 28 did not do so in vain.

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