Yesterday, Tindak Malaysia held a forum entitled “How Clean Will the 13th GE be?” at the MPBJ Civic Centre Auditorium in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The purpose was obviously to debate about the coming election and why it is important that for people to turn up for the Bersih 3.0 sit-in this Saturday (28 April). Tan Dato’ Seri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (Chairman of Election Commission) was invited to counter argue with “Why the 13th General Election Will Be The Cleanest in the World” but failed to make an appearance. He was allowed to send a representative or replacement but didn’t do so as well. Coward.
The turn out for the forum was pretty good despite the short notice. There were stalls selling Bersih 3.0 and Anti-Lynas t-shirts and other stuffs at the lobby. By the time I got there, the nicest design of the Bersih 3.0 t-shirt was practically sold out, leaving me with only the double XL piece to purchase, which is a few levels larger than my size (I wear M). It’s only RM15, so what the heck. I’m gonna ask my mum to help make it sleeveless.
The forum kicked off with a short speech by a surprise guest and that was none other than the Bersih 2.0 chairperson, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan.
She emphasised how the amended Election Offences Act rules will make the coming 13th general election of Malaysia the dirtiest ever yet. No monitoring agents will be allowed at the voting registration booth and candidate-appointed agents are also not allowed to enter the election booths where EC (Election Commission or Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya a.k.a SPR) checks the identity of voters and give out ballot papers. Which means now, there won’t be any independent checks on the voters and phantom voters with fake IC’s could easily walk in and vote, defeating the purpose of having indelible ink which the EC introduced. The amendments done by the EC were merely cosmetic changes and have been designed for unclean election. The EC also tried to make a last minute change on Monday as an answer to Bersih 3.0 but it’s obviously only because they realised that we’re not stupid and they’re now very afraid. Dato’ S. Ambiga ended her speech by saying that regardless of what they try now, Bersih 3.0 is gonna happen anyway, this Saturday, at Dataran Merdeka. For more about the safeguards from election fraud removed, watch this press conference.
For the next two hours, PY Wong (Tindak Malaysia), Dr. Wong Chin Huat (Bersih 2.0 steering committee) and Dr. Ong Kian Ming took turns to give their individual presentations about the problems with the Electoral Roll, moderated by Syahredzan Johan. They came very prepared, with slides of graphs, charts, geographical maps, specific numbers and evidence from their respective analyses. I couldn’t fully comprehend everything nor can I remember everything they pitched but the following are the things that I do recall and did understand;
1. EC said that they can’t cater for the one million of Malaysians in overseas to vote. Tindak Malaysia has volunteered to help out but they did not get back to them.
2. The Malaysian Constitution was amended 700 times in 53 years. The United States is over 223 years old and theirs was only amended 27 times. Imagine a business agreement contract that has more than 700 changes, wouldn’t you terminate it and have a new one written already?
3. There is a law that says that the Agong has to take advises from the Prime Minister once he is appointed while the EC staffs and members are appointed by the government. Basically means that EC is controlled by the parliament.
4. Gerrymandering, Mal-apportionment, Geographical Disproportionality – all designed for Barisan Nasional to win elections after elections. Keep the rural areas poor and votes can easily be purchased. And with a 2/3 simple majority win, the government has the authority to change the amount of parliament seats in a certain state constituency as they please. Because most of us were unaware of this, the government enjoyed the advantage they had in the past 12 elections. Never give any parties the two-third power, it’s very dangerous and can be easily abused. If Pakatan Rakyat wins the next election, they would be tempted to implement this dirty scheme as well.
5. We have many foreigners who are now Malaysian citizens and are eligible to vote in elections, 50 000 in Sabah alone and on the EC database,
most of them are without details of where they live. Registration of
voters can be submitted by a member of the parliament (or something like
that), which makes that important detail unnecessary. This is why UMNO – BN wants to allocate additional parliament seats for Sabah and Sarawak (rural states) and may even want to reduce Selangor‘s seats to only 10.
6. According to the EC database,
there are 65 543 voters above the age of 85, a thousand whom are a
hundred years old, and some who were born before 1900. For those who are
supposedly born after 1890 can’t be clerical errors because if they
were born in 1990, they would have had new IC numbers instead of the old
one. There are also proofs that there are spouses of the military and
police who used their husband or wife’s IC number to register as voters
(citizens are given different IC numbers once they become a part of the
army or police). There are over 3 millions of similar cases. The
questions is – is this only the tip of the iceberg?
UPDATE (11 May 2012) – The EC has withdrawn the amendments! A small but significant victory for Bersih indeed. Read more on Bersih 2.0’s website.