Penguatkuasaan larangan kempen yang berlebihan di Melaka membunuh demokrasi (Malay/English)

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Sebenarnya SPR secara perlembagaan  dipertanggungjawabkan untuk melaksanakan pilihan raya

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 2.0) bimbang dengan tindakan penguatkuasaan yang berlebihan yang diambil oleh pihak polis yang mengenakan denda berat kepada parti politik dan calon pilihan raya negeri Melaka kerana tuduhan melanggar prosedur operasi standard Covid bawah Peraturan-Peraturan Pencegahan dan Pengawalan Penyakit Berjangkit (Langkah dalam Kawasan Tempatan Jangkitan) (Pelan Pemulihan Negara) 2021.

Insiden terakhir di mana seorang individu di Alor Gajah telah didenda sebanyak RM4,000 kerana “menjalankan kempen pilihan raya dengan cara memakai jaket berlambang Pakatan Harapan” adalah mengarut dan berlebihan.

Ini juga terkait dengan satu lagi laporan di mana Kementerian Kesihatan dan polis “menyerbu” mesyuarat majlis presiden PH di Melaka dan hanya berundur apabila ditunjukkan bahawa mesyuarat parti dibenarkan di bawah garis panduan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya.

Ini hanya menunjukkan bahawa larangan dan denda bukan lagi untuk mengawal Covid tetapi menekan kempen pilihan raya secara keseluruhan.

Pilihan raya bukan hanya sekadar membuang undi pada hari pengundian tetapi turut merangkim keseluruhan proses kempen di mana semua calon dan parti politik mempersembahkan diri mereka kepada pengundi agar mereka dapat membuat keputusan berasaskan maklumat. Tindakan berlebihan oleh Kementerian Kesihatan dan polis secara berkesan menghalang pilihan raya dan menekan demokrasi.

Bersih 2.0 berpandangan bahawa tindakan tersebut bercanggah dengan Perkara 8 dan 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan bagi kebebasan berhimpun dan bersuara. Ia juga bercanggah dengan Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya 1954, Seksyen 24B di mana calon boleh mengadakan, memanggul atau mengaturkan perjumpaan awam terbuka, perhimpunan awam terbuka, pertujukkan awam terbuka atau hiburan terbuka atau ucapan atau syarahan terbuka di mana calon tersebut bertanding.

Bersih 2.0 dalam kenyataan kami sebelum ini menekankan bahawa walaupun langkah berhati-hati perlu diambil untuk mengelakkan penularan Covid, larangan kempen pilihan raya secara total bukanlah penyelesaian kerana ia menjejaskan pilihan raya bebas dan adil.

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Banyak cadangan telah diusulkan oleh Bersih 2.0 tentang bagaimana prosedur operasi standard pilihan raya yang selari dengan garis panduan Fasa 4 pelan pemulihan negara, penyediaan alternatif untuk berkempen seperti akses media yang sama rata kepada semua calon tanpa mengira parti.

Bersih 2.0 kecewa dengan kurangnya inisiatif dan langkah proaktif oleh SPR untuk memudahkan dan menyediakan cara kempen yang selamat di Melaka. Lebih teruk pilihan raya kini seakan diuruskan oleh Kementerian Kesihatan dan polis, walaupun sebenarnya SPR secara perlembagaan  dipertanggungjawabkan untuk melaksanakan pilihan raya dalam negara.

Bersih 2.0 dengan tegas membantah larangan total serta penguatkuasaan berlebihan dan denda dikenakan kepada calon-calon dan sesiapa yang berkempen di Melaka. Kami menggesa larangan kempen fizikal secara total dibatalkan dan garis panduan yang selari dengan Fasa 4 pelan pemulihan negara disediakan dalam minggu terakhir berkempen.

Bersih 2.0 juga menggesa semua calon-calon dan jentera mereka untuk bertanggungjawab sepanjang masa dengan mematuhi arahan pemakaian pelitup muka dan penjarakan semasa berkempen.

Parti-parti juga wajar mengambil kesempatan dalam inisiatif #SuaraUntukSemua oleh Bersih 2.0 dan rakan media kami, Astro Awani, Sinar Harian dan SinChew Daily, untuk mendapat liputan TV, media cetak dan media sosial bagi kempen mereka. – Bersih 2.0

English version

Overzealous enforcement of campaign restrictions is killing democracy

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) views with great concern the overzealous enforcement actions taken by the police in imposing heavy fines on political parties and candidates in the Malacca state election for alleged violations of Covid standard operating procedure under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (National Recovery Plan) Regulations 2021.

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The latest incident where an individual in Alor Gajah was slapped with a fine of RM4,000 for “holding election campaign by wearing a jacket bearing Pakatan Harapan logo” is just ridiculous and overboard.

This came on the back of another report that the Ministry of Health (MoH) and police “raided” a PH presidential council meeting in Melaka and only backed down when it was shown that party meetings are allowed under the Election Commission’s guidelines.

It only goes to show that these restrictions and fines are no longer about managing Covid but are a suppression of the election campaigns as a whole.

An election is not only the act of casting ballots on polling day, but it encompass the entire process of campaigning, where candidates and political parties present themselves to the voters for the voters to make an informed choice. The overzealous actions by the MoH and the police have effectively banned the election and suppressed democracy.

Bersih 2.0 views such actions to be in violation of Articles 8 and 10 of the Federal Constitution on freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. They are also in contravention of the Election Offences Act 1954, whereby pursuant to Section 24B, candidates may hold, convene or organise any open public meeting, open public rally, open public display or open public entertainment or give any open public address or open public lecture in the constituency that the candidate is contesting.

Bersih 2.0 has in our previous press statement stressed that while precautions must be taken to avoid the spread of Covid, a total ban on the election campaign is not the solution as it undermines a free and fair election.

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There are many suggestions proposed by Bersih2.0 on how coming out with election standard operating procedures that comply with Phase 4 of the national recovery plan’s guidelines could provide alternatives to campaigning such as equitable media access by all candidates regardless of parties.

Bersih 2.0 is further disappointed with the lack of initiative and proactive steps by the Election Commission to facilitate and provide for safe campaigning for Malacca. It is even more disturbing that the election is now seen to be “managed” by the MoH and the police, when it is the Election Commission that is constitutionally entrusted with conducting elections in this country.

Bersih 2.0 strongly objects to the total ban and overzealous enforcement and fines imposed on candidates and anyone campaigning in Malacca. We call for the total ban on physical campaigning to be lifted and for clear guidelines that are in compliance with Phase 4 of the recovery plan to be provided in the last week of campaigning.

Bersih 2.0 also calls for all candidates and their teams to be responsible at all times to strictly comply with face masks and distancing rules during the campaign.

Parties should also take advantage of the #SuaraUntukSemua initiative by Bersih 2.0 and our media partner, Astro Awani, Sinar Harian and SinChew Daily, to get TV, printed media and social media coverage for their campaign. – Bersih 2.0

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