Disingenuous responses on failure to sign pledge on free and fair elections

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Source: freemalaysiatoday.com

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) rejects the claim made by the candidate from Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (Pas), Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, that he was not contacted by Bersih 2.0 and did not receive any documents from Bersih 2.0 on the pledge form to support free and fair elections.

Bersih 2.0 organised a press conference on 1 October 2018 and announced that a pledge form to support clean and fair elections would be sent to all the candidates in the Port Dickson by-election.

Bersih 2.0 subsequently contacted and gave the pledge form via WhatsApp to Khairul Yazman Yahaya, who is Negri Sembilan Pas youth chief and Nazari’s campaign coordinator, and Mohd Nassaruddin Daud, who is the Negri Sembilan Pas information chief. Khairul Yazman responded that he needed to refer this issue to party leaders.

Bersih 2.0 also went to the Pas headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and physically submitted the official letter and pledge form inviting Nazari to sign the pledge. The official letter was received and stamped officially by Pas headquarters.

It is disingenuous for Nazari to claim that he did not receive anything from Bersih 2.0 when in fact we received a reply from his election campaign coordinator that Nazari would not sign the pledge, as instructed by a party vice-president. If he did not know anything about this, how was the decision made and conveyed to Bersih 2.0?

Bersih 2.0 has kept a copy of the WhatsApp exchanges to prove the conversation with both Khairul Yazman and Nassaruddin and the official letter received and stamped by Pas headquarters to prove that Nazari’s claim was untrue.

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We welcome Nazari’s statement that, despite not signing the pledge, it did not mean that he does not support the principles of free and fair elections. We wish to remind him that a banquet named Jamuan Rakyat was organised by Pas on 9 October 2018. This may violate Section 8 of the Election Offences Act, which prohibits the treating of foods, drinks, refreshments or provisions to induce voters to vote for a particular candidate. We call for a stop to such practices.

Mohd Isa Abdul Samad questioned the initiative by Bersih 2.0 to have all the candidates sign the pledge form that demands clean and fair elections and stated that only the Electoral Commission had the power to do that.

Bersih 2.0 wishes to clarify that the pledge to support free and fair elections is a voluntary pledge. It can be initiated by any civil society organisation to educate and raise public awareness of politicians’ commitment to clean and fair elections.

Furthermore, Bersih 2.0 was officially accredited by the Electoral Commission to observe the Port Dickon by-election, and all offences documented would be submitted to the commission for further action.

Isa Samad should not have used the Electoral Commission as a lame excuse to not sign the pledge and should have displayed his commitment to clean and fair elections to Port Dickson voters.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

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