The sanctity of the Malaysian ballot has never before been put to such a high level of doubt, as voters’ political innocence was violated with impunity, says Stephen Tan Ban Cheng.
The political innocence of Malaysians has been raped beyond recognition if the presence of organised voters from foreign lands in almost all parliamentary and state wards in this year’s election is proven to be true.
Predicated on that very proviso, the apparent evidence for which abounds in the form of photos and videos taken by so many Malaysians in cyber space, the results no longer matter. What matters to each and every Malaysian is that our electoral process has been compromised by the presence of foreigners and attempts to buy votes.
There have also been reports of unhealthy practices in cyber space involving voters who found their ballots had been cast, including a Malaysian who had returned from overseas to do his duty by his country.
Malaysians had been warned throughout the 15-day campaign before Voting Day on 5 May that such unhealthy practices would surface. Many decent Malaysians were in truth affronted by opposition allegations of such low-down practices that would be perpetrated by the Umno-led National Front coalition component parties.
Now that Malaysians have seen these subterfuges executed so unashamedly and with impunity, my only conclusion is this and this alone: any victory won in this election is shorn of all glory.
Even the integrity of our institutions has been compromised.
The next government will be a government ruling without legitimacy since the peaceful and democratic participation of all Malaysians through the ballot box has been effectively nullified by far too many electoral chicanery that this short piece will never command the space to list down.
Indeed, the sanctity of the Malaysian ballot has never been put to such a high level of doubt as this election has displayed. The integrity of the whole system is in grave doubt.
Note: This was written just as voting booths closed at 6.00pm on 5 May 2013.
Stephen Tan is a journalist with international experience. He is today a New Zealand-trained lawyer with his small boutique practice in his hometown of Penang.