Bersih 2.0 rejects Election Commission’s claim of fair elections

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Source: freemalaysiatoday.com

Bersih 2.0 rejects and denies a statement made by Election Commission chairperson Mohd Hashim Abdullah, in an opinion piece published in Mingguan Malaysia on 28 October 2016, claiming that Malaysia’s elections are fair.

Had we known that elections were indeed fair, Bersih 2.0 wouldn’t be fighting for electoral reforms in the first place.

Malaysian citizens themselves have expressed concerns over unfair and fraudulent elections in GE13, which led Bersih 2.0 to set up the People’s Tribunal to investigate and examine their claims.

Supported by a 30-strong legal team, the tribunal gathered evidence and witness statements from public hearings held nationwide – which included allegations of manipulation, excess expenditure, bribery, rigging and other electoral irregularities.

The government and the Election Commission were also invited to submit their claims, but they refused to engage with the allegations and instead have continued to feign ignorance and deny any wrongdoing.

The tribunal’s report was presented to Bersih 2.0 on 25 March 2014 and concluded that “there were so many breaches of law, disregard of procedures that we have to conclude that elections were not free and fair,” according to Yash Pal Ghai, who headed the tribunal.

The People’s Tribunal can be read in full in both BM and English.

Let us also not forget that the ill-gotten gains from the BN government’s sovereign fund, 1MDB, were used to fund Najib Razak’s campaign for GE13. Najib himself admitted that the BN had spent RM1.5bn of his supposed RM2.6bn “donation” on GE13 campaigning.

Just the other day, Umno information chief Annuar Musa said that all political funding channelled to Najib was disbursed to Umno divisions accordingly.

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Bersih 2.0 will not stop questioning the 1MDB scandal until questions are answered and conflicting reports are addressed.

Furthermore, worrying new trends in electoral issues have emerged like the Election Commission’s recent redelineation exercise which has disregarded constitutional provisions that require constituencies to be of approximately equal size and the same amount of voters.

Instead, there are instances of gerrymandering, which manipulates electoral boundaries to the advantage of a particular party or coalition, and malapportionment, which sees vastly different ratios of voters to representatives. The latter has reached its highest level since 1974.

Bersih 2.0’s Delineation Action and Research Team (Dart) was formed to inform and empower citizens to challenge any unfair or unconstitutional redelineation proposals by the EC.

The Election Commission has received 836 objections to the proposed redelineation for the Peninsula and Sabah.

Given allegations of electoral irregularities, the 1MDB scandal, and unfair redelineation exercises, how can the Election Commission chairperson still maintain that elections are fair. Instead of addressing these important issues, he has chosen to bury his head in the sand, blind to what’s happening on the ground.

Bersih 2.0 urges Mohd Hashim to rethink his position and work towards cleaning up the electoral process to ensure free and fair elections.

Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee members

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