Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pemantau delivers damning verdict on GE13

Lisa J. Ariffin

 | September 11, 2013
Bersih's citizen monitoring group, Pemantau, concludes that GE13 was not clean and fair.
PETALING JAYA: The 13th general election was neither clean nor fair, said Bersih’s citizen monitoring group, Pemantau, in its report on electoral irregularities.
Pemantau, which consists of Bersih, Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) and human rights group Pusat Komas – hoped their report would help the public to decide if the Election Commission (EC) should be held accountable for electoral irregularities that happened during GE13.
“The entire political culture needs changing. The inheritance of this culture and lawlessness has been going on in Malaysia for so long,” said Bersih’s Yasmin Masidi, said during yesterday’s launch of Pemantau’s election observation report titled “Clean and Fair?”.
“This all takes place in a context where the institutions believe they can get away with things (election misconduct). This needs to change,” she added.
Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah lamented that if the EC had recognised Pemantau and allowed observers into polling stations, the report would have been ‘more comprehensive’.
“The reports gathered are based on witnesses’ accounts of what transpired during the polls,” she said, referring to incidents of political violence, illegal campaigning, conveyance of voters and even harassment of election observers.
“With only 2,000 of us, we could not cover the whole country but what is stated in the report is enough for the EC to take action,” she added.
Asked if the GE13 results should be declared “null and void” in light of numerous electoral misconduct, Mafrel chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said that it was not up to Pemantau to make the call.
“We must go back to laws of the country. We have election petitions.
“We must go through the process of law before we can say the election is null and void,” he said.
However, Syed Ibrahim said that it was possible for the EC to conduct fresh election if ‘the public raise a lot of concern.’
Maria then disclosed that Pemantau was looking into producing the full report in booklet-form to be distributed to the public.
“We will give it back to the people. We will also give it to every political party, government departments, ministries and the EC,” she said.
Change is inevitable
Meanwhile, Bersih co-chairman S Ambiga urged the people to hold on to their hopes for change.
“Change is not easy and it takes time. But change is inevitable… it has already started. Malaysians are more aware of what’s going on around them,” she said.
Ambiga also reiterated her NGO’s call for the incumbent EC leaders to resign.
“We need to hold the EC accountable. They have one single job, which is running elections and nothing else… they can’t even get that right, or they do not want to get it right” she said, admitting that she believed in the latter argument.
“They have failed in their task and still adamant in staying on. They are not shamed enough to step down. However, I am confident the people will look into that,” she added.
Asked if Bersih was planning to conduct another street rally to pressure the EC chiefs to resign, Ambiga said Bersih 4.0 is ‘inevitable’ if the EC leaders continue to ignore their demands.
The report can be downloaded

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