The GE-13 lost its integrity: The EC should be taken to task.
The two important paragraphs in the foreword by Kofi Annan to the presentation ‘Deepening Democracy’ on 14th September 2012 at the Royal Society London states the following;
“When the electorate believes that elections have been free and fair, they can be a powerful catalyst for better governance, greater security and human development. But in the absence of credible elections, citizens have no recourse to peaceful political change. The risk of conflict increases while corruption, intimidation, and fraud go unchecked, rotting the entire political system slowly from within.”
“I experienced this first-hand when the flawed presidential elections in Kenya in 2007 led to uncontrolled violence, killing and displacement of people. I have seen, too, how much of Africa’s progress in the last decade risks being reversed by the “winner takes all” approach to elections and power, which has been extraordinarily damaging to the continent. “
Malaysia faces the same fate
While it is in UMNO/BN’s interest that it must do everything possible whether lawful or not, whether morally right or not to win in elections, the Election Commission (EC) on the other hand should be independent, should act on its own interest to maintain its credibility to avoid any ambiguity in the election results, such that there would be no room for anyone to complain or even for the EC to be brought to court. This entails in having fair and free elections, without the need of third party observers. This is the yard stick that the EC should follow.
Unfortunately while a person of integrity would have his or her own stance and would not be swayed by others, the EC bosses willingly and voluntarily enslaved themselves to UMNO. The elections in Malaysia have lost its integrity because of the EC bosses who refused to say ‘NO’ to UMNO politicians.
UMNO leaders have always maintained that they have not interfered with the functions of the EC, despite the EC reporting to the prime minister’s office, as was set in the country’s 1957 constitution. So taking the words from UMNO, this way, the EC will just stand on its own. The EC cannot point fingers at others, even at UMNO. We can say that it is the EC who is at fault and should take all the blames on any wrong doings in the elections, especially the GE-13.
But for this to happen, it is important for this country to adopt a culture of accountability and take full responsibility for any screw-ups. While the British have shown good examples of being responsible and the persons responsible would not have second thought to resign, the Malaysian leaders failed to perform as trained by the British; instead they will give all sorts of reasons, excuses and justification to stay in the position and be more powerful. The bosses of EC are just the same, thus the only resort is to take the EC to court.
The faults of the EC
The Election Commission had been accused of registering phantom voters which should be cleaned up long time ago or at least before any election since the EC has a lot of time because the elections are not held every month, it is held every four years and there are many unemployed graduates who could be engaged to help the EC, just like the extra hires by Pos Malaysia in sorting out seasons greeting cards.
Then there are video recordings, text and pictures on social websites and news portals and in the print media on all kinds of s accusations and allegations directed at the EC.
Opposition and clean-poll activists claim that as many as 1 million of the 13.5 million names on voter rolls are fraudulent. Opposition politicians also claim tens of thousands of non-Malaysian immigrant workers have been recruited to vote for ruling parties.
There are allegations of blackouts at vote tallying centres, three ballot boxes missing from the vote-tallying centre in Putrajaya and ballot boxes airdropped from helicopters to ensure victory of certain candidates.
There are claims that EC vehicles bringing ballot boxes to tallying centres to manipulate the election result, EC staff asking candidates’ agents to sign the Borang 14 (Form 14) before the counting of votes had been completed and transporting of phantom voters from Sabah and Sarawak to vote in the peninsula.
Lately the EC also put the blame on Pos Malaysia for some undelivered voting papers.
The EC 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.
Critics have also said that, “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.”
The delineation of constituencies is unfair and not proportionate to the number of population I the constituencies, all to ensure UMNO/BN wins.
But, the indelible ink fiasco should be the final straw for the EC board to resign en bloc because they have clearly lied to the public and betrayed the voters. Not only that, there is a reason to believe that some hanky-panky occurred within the EC especially at the top level who the decision makers are pertaining to the procurement of the definitely overpriced ink.
The EC has set up a special team to find out why the indelible ink used to mark voters in the 13th general election could be easily removed but the EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof did not give the details of those in the team. For all we know the effort could just similar to the MACC team who probed the RM250 million Gemas NFC debacle, who did not find anything wrong in their first investigation. So far, there is nobody being charged on the indelible ink fiasco, which should be a simple investigation by following the paper and money trail.
Elections are the indispensable root of democracy but should be of the highest integrity. In Malaysia, the integrity is lost not entirely because of UMNO/BN but more so the EC.