Archive for category Election

Election Commission: Apparent Bias

by Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

The Chairman of the Election Commission and his Deputy must resign immediately. In the wake of accusations by the Opposition that they are members of UMNO, they have admitted the same.

It is self-evident that they can no longer hold their positions as the head and deputy head of the Election Commission, a body established by the Federal Constitution for the sole purpose of ensuring that the general elections of the Federation and States are run in a manner that ensure public confidence. Put another way, as has been consistently emphasized by the Coalition on Free and Fair Elections, the Election Commission must act in a manner that is seen to be impartial.

That the perception of impartiality is of crucial significance is underscored by Article 113 of the Federal Constitution, the provision which establishes the Election Commission. 113(2) provides:

“In appointing members of the Election Commission the Yang di- Pertuan Agong shall have regard to the importance of securing an Election Commission which enjoys public confidence.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno’s right turn

— Liew Chin Tong
Rocket/The Malaysian Insider
Feb 07, 2012

FEB 7 — As I walked from my hotel room to a meeting in Port Dickson in July 2005, I remember holding a newspaper with a photo of Hishammuddin Hussein brandishing a keris on its cover. At that moment, I knew Umno was kissing goodbye to its non-Malay support. (For reference, see the first part of this article here.)

Indeed, on hindsight, it was the pivotal moment of the decade: Umno had turned to the right permanently while the then-Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lost control over his reform agenda. The demise of Abdullah’s premiership, arguably Umno’s last chance to reform, began in July 2005.

Today, unless Prime Minister Najib Razak can stare down the right wing of his party as effectively as Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Vision 2020 grand compromise and turn the clock back by seven years to restore its centrist credential, the events of July 2005 will culminate in Umno and Barisan Nasional’s eventual electoral collapse. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rebranding Rela into BN’s vanguard

— Bob Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 31, 2012

JAN 31 — Under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), Rela is to be rebranded as part of a police “omnipresence.” But its massive build-up has raised suspicions that it may instead become Barisan Nasional’s (BN) vanguard or even an additional vote bank.

“When the chips are down, Rela will be with this government to defend the country. Do not cause havoc in this country because the 2.8 million Rela members will not stand idly by and watch the country descend into chaos,” he thundered to the noisy approval from a crowd of 30,000 Rela members gathered in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday.

Najib Razak seems at variance with his minister in charge of the GTP, Idris Jala. The GTP roadmap for combating crime requires Rela to help police keep “omnipresence” in 50 identified crime hot spots in the Kuala Lumur, Selangor, Johor and Penang.

But Najib talks about using Rela as a vanguard or vigilante when Umno or BN’s chips are down, and he wants Rela to contain demonstrators out to create public disorder. Read the rest of this entry »

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First shocker of Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms

My first reaction yesterday to the announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak of a parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms is to welcome the proposal as it is a vindication of the 709 Bersih rally for free and fair elections – provided it is a genuine and sincere attempt to clean up the various defects and flaws in the electoral system.

However, the first shocker of the PSC on electoral reforms is the report that the Parliamentary Select Committee would have its first meeting tomorrow to discuss “everything that needs to be done” and reach a consensus on the matter.

How can this be when the Parliamentary Select Committee has not yet been formed and the respective Pakatan Rakyat parties have not been consulted and their agreement sought with regard to the PSC’s terms of reference and its membership? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the gov’t is paranoid

By KJ John
Aug 2, 11 | MalaysiaKini

I always believed paranoia was the sickness of weak and fearful people, or those who have just cause for abject fear. For example, after 9/11, the Americans were absolutely overcome with paranoia only because such an unfortunate incident was “not in their paradigm of possibilities; worse still, probabilities!” Therefore, I could tolerate, accept and appreciate their paranoia as they did three 100 percent complete checks on me within the same airport in November 2001.

But, why is the government of Malaysia also paranoid these days? First we ban “an avowedly peaceful rally to ask for clean and fair elections”. Nonetheless, it then became the best example of a peaceful rally of ordinary Malaysians reflecting the 1Malaysia syndrome; except for police disturbance. Read the rest of this entry »

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How democratic elections still failed Sabah

By Erna Mahyuni
July 14, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JULY 14 — “How can you say our elections are unfair when BN lost five states in 2008?” I hear that refrain over and over again to the point I want to scream. And stage my own private rally in front of Putrajaya.

Let me tell you a story, of a 16-year-old girl witnessing the 1994 Sabah state elections. I was that girl. Imagine turning on the television to watch a video showing derelict shacks, illegal immigrants (who Sabah natives recognise on sight) living in squalor while in the background a refrain plays, calling on viewers to “Binalah Sabah baru (Build a new Sabah)!”

Nearly two decades later and I still want to punch whoever made that video in the mouth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Government in “time warp”

One explanation for the hamfisted and gross mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections in Merdeka Stadium is that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, DPM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and all the Cabinet Ministers are trapped in a “time warp” causing their total disconnect with ordinary Malaysians and the fact that they are living in 2011 in the era of social media and the Internet.

This is why there is considerable merit in the advice by the University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) social anthropologist Professor Datuk Shamsul Amri Baharuddin that the Najib administration should discard its “Cold War” mindset and to modernize its concepts to address internal security and national issues.

Shamsul reminded the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition that the “enemy” was no longer armed communists battling a jungle war but a civilian movement consisting of politically awakened middle class that is wired to the global community and moved by fully legitimate issu Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s post-709 KL walkabout reminds you of what?

There are many casualties in the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally on Saturday especially the police, the mainstream media and the election commission but the biggest loser of all is undoubtedly the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

709 saw the death of Najib’s 1Malaysia but the birth of a true Bersih 1Malaysia where Malaysians of all races, religions, gender and age walked tall despite police threats, teargas, water cannons and sustained media demonisation to reaffirm their faith in a Clean Malaysia where there are free and fair elections, a clean political system and incorrupt national governance. Read the rest of this entry »

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709 marks the empowerment of the real 1Malaysia

“709” will go down in Malaysian history as the day of empowerment of the real 1Malaysia – where all races and religions came together to demand a “Clean Malaysia”, not just for clean elections but also in the political system and all aspects of national governance.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak coined the 1Malaysia slogan on taking office in April 2009 but it has been pure gimmicry in the past two years and three months – reduced to 1Malaysia T-shirt 1Malaysia Tupperware circus.

But it was yesterday that Malaysians of all races and religions who gave true meaning to a 1Malaysia by coming out in tens of thousands in the federal capital to support Bersih’s call for free, fair and clean elections. This is something Najib can never understand. Read the rest of this entry »

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709 Bersih Rally

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Running Scared in Malaysia

By John R. Malott
Wall Street Journal
July 8, 2011

Opinion The Malaysian government has pulled out all the stops to prevent an rally this weekend. This week, army units conducted crowd control exercises with banners that said, “Disperse or we will shoot!” The police set up roadblocks and arrested Malaysians simply for wearing yellow T-shirts, the signature color of Bersih, a coalition of 62 nongovernmental organizations that demands changes in Malaysia’s electoral system. To date, the police have arrested over 250 supporters of Bersih, claiming that they are “waging war against the king.”

Then something unprecedented happened. Malaysia’s King Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, allegedly the target of Bersih’s campaign, intervened. He called on both Prime Minister Najib Razak and Bersih to resolve their differences in a spirit of harmony and cooperation, for the good of the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Putrajaya be trusted?

By The Malaysian Insider
July 07, 2011

JULY 7 — Events over the past week have brought to question whether Malaysians can trust the Barisan Nasional (BN) government? And if not, can Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has made great strides to reclaim the coalition’s popularity, regain the people’s trust?

Let’s look at some of the events this week that has likely undermined not only his support but also his 1 Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.

Najib’s offer of a stadium for rally instead of electoral reforms movement Bersih marching through town pressing for free and fair elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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The day when the people rise up: July 9

By Kim Quek
July 07, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JULY 7 — That’s it! Bersih finally has had enough of the treacherous conduct of a shameless government which has lost all sense of decency!

In a firmly worded statement released late last night, Bersih effectively said “come what may, we will have our rally at the Stadium Merdeka on July 9 at 2 pm!”.

This is Bersih’s final answer to a battery of ridiculous obstructions, warnings and excuses put up by the Najib government to obstruct a Bersih rally in the stadium.

This is despite Bersih having made a major concession to shift the rally from the streets to a stadium under the unprecedented intervention of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and after Prime Minister Najib Razak’s offer of a suitable stadium for the purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why am I not surprised?

By Shanker
July 06, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JULY 6 — So, the Home Minister remains adamant that Bersih is an illegal outfit, notwithstanding that the highest Ruler in the land has implied his acquiescence by meeting with Bersih representatives yesterday.

Sigh … what else can we say about Umno that hasn’t been said already? The whole world has taken flight at an unimaginable rate in this 21st century; changes are happening all around the globe — just witness Thailand’s maturity in the democratic process … Read the rest of this entry »

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Protestors in pro-Bersih clothes will be arrested, warns Deputy IGP

By Clara Chooi
July 06, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Despite being allowed to hold a stadium rally this Saturday, protestors found with pro-Bersih 2.0 materials will still be arrested, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said today.

This, he said, was because the coalition was still deemed an unlawful organisation and any item, whether “songkoks or T-shirts” are still disallowed.

“On clothing or items with Bersih motifs on them, as far as we are concerned, Bersih 2.0 has been gazetted as illegal so anything to do with Bersih 2.0 will be wrong, will be disallowed and we will take action,” he told a press conference at the Bukit Aman police headquarters this afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »

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A royal rebuke for Umno, says Aussie don

By Stephanie Sta Maria
July 6, 201 | Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Bersih earned a spot on Australia’s airwaves today with an Australian sociologist describing the royal intervention as a “rebuke” to Umno and the government and an acknowledgement of the organisation’s legitimacy.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Abidin issued a statement on Monday saying street demonstrations would do more harm than good.

This prompted Bersih to request an audience with him, which he granted with rare speed yesterday. Bersih afterwards announced its decision to move the rally off the streets and into a stadium. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia: A police state

By Tommy Thomas
July 06, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JULY 6 — Death Threats. Bomb Threats. Warning on Revocation of Citizenship. Preventive detention. Arrest of hundreds for wearing Yellow T-Shirts. Banning of Organisations. Prohibition of Peaceful Marches.

Is one describing Burma? Or Zimbabwe? No: this is Malaysia in July 2011, in its 54th year of independence.

Has paranoia gripped the decision-making elite in Kuala Lumpur? But for its grave repercussions, one would have to laugh at the disproportionate overreaction and incompetence of government agencies in recent weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bersih: Grave concern over the deepening political crisis

Press statement by concerned academicians on the Bersih march (KUALA LUMPUR, 5 July 2011)

We, the undersigned academicians, wish to express our concern at the deepening political crisis in the country. It is unfortunate that such a crisis is emerging out of a legitimate campaign, initiated by a large number of non-governmental organizations, to institute reforms through their campaign, Bersih, to ensure the conduct of truly free and fair elections in Malaysia.  Since the pursuit of such a campaign is undeniably noble, and timely, we are extremely perturbed that the government has resorted to harsh measures and use of draconian legislation to prevent the organizers from mounting a public rally.

We see the need for the leaders of Bersih to persist with dialogue with the bodies responsible for overseeing free and fair elections.  However, we also appreciate the argument by the campaign’s leaders that such an assembly is necessary since discussions have long taken place, with little progress – thus the need for the government to take serious heed of the campaign’s recommendations for free and fair elections for which there is considerable support from the country’s citizenry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bring about a healthy democracy

By Kee Thuan Chye
Jul 5, 11 | MalaysiaKini

The King has issued a statement on the developments surrounding the proposed Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections. What do we make of it?

It is quite clear that he is not in favour of the rally proceeding on July 9, although he does say that the original intentions of street demonstrations can be good. This, read together with his acknowledgement of “the political fervour of a section of the people to bring about a healthy democracy (menyuburkan demokrasi) in our country”, indicates he is not condemning Bersih 2.0.

He is aware that the people are involved (even though it constitutes “a section”), and what they desire is something positive, i.e. menyuburkan demokrasi. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bersih 2.0 is Najib’s biggest challenge

By Ooi Kee Beng
July 04, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JULY 4 — As July 9 looms closer, the administration of Malaysia’s Premier Najib Abdul Razak feels itself more and more pushed into a corner.

This coming Saturday threatens to be a day of reckoning for his administration, which from the beginning preferred tweaking the system to reforming the system. Now, two years after he took power from Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, another leader who failed to live up to his own reformist image, he is running out of options. Read the rest of this entry »

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