Even an objective issue such as the integrity of electoral votes has been turned into an ethno-centric issue that serves vested political interests, laments Ronald Benjamin.
The disclosure that there were errors in the DAP central executive committee election results have brought about various reactions from ruling coalition politicians and the mainstream media aligned to them.
It is heartening to note that an audit has been conducted by external auditors. This should be done in a transparent manner that would be credible in the eyes of its members. The DAP has shown humility and honesty in addressing this issue, but it would have shown competence if the error was disclosed earlier.
When one takes a closer look at the CEC election narrative leading to the disclosure of the errors, the main point from the detractors was that a Malay was not elected to the CEC and therefore the DAP is a racist party. Ironically when the disclosure of errors in the election was made and it was revealed that a Malay candidate was elected to the CEC, the mainstream media was quick to dismiss it by declaring that the latest result appeared questionable coming as it did after criticism that Malay candidates were not elected. This clearly reveals that even an objective issue such as the integrity of electoral votes can be turned into an ethno-centric issue that serves vested political interests.
The question that comes to mind is, is the criticism directed at the DAP by Barisan politicians based on genuine concern for the electoral process – or is it due to the frustration among Umno politcians that a Malay candidate had being elected after all? Does the integrity of an election depend entirely on which ethnic groups are elected? Doesn’t the aspiration of members, contradictory internal conflicts, the experience and years of service of leaders also play a part in the outcome of party elections?
One has to rise above a simplistic mindset to comprehend these issues. Therefore one would hope that there would be more responsible journalism and responsible politicians to reject simplistic ethno-centric politics and comprehend electoral integrity in greater depth.
Ronald Benjamin, an Aliran member, is a human resources practitioner based in Ipoh.