DAP supports PSC on Electoral Reforms with reservations

The DAP welcomes the setting up of this Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms though we have many doubts and reservations.

Since 70s in Parliament, DAP MPs had been calling for free, fair and clean general elections, making proposals such as the following:

• a clean, honest and comprehensive electoral list where every eligible voter is on the list which could be simply achieved with an automatic voters registration system for every citizen who comes of voting age and the cleansing of phantom and illegal voters;

• eradication of postal vote abuses;

• Reduction of eligible voting age from 21 to 18 years;

• fair campaign period to allow voters adequate time to make informed decisions on their choice from competing candidates and political parties.

• eradication of electoral offences and corrupt practices, as money politics to buy votes;

• introduction of the concept of caretaker government to carry out day-to-day administration of the country between dissolution of Parliament and polling day where the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers are legally barred from abusing and misusing their public offices, resources or funds for any party electioneering campaigning on pain of disqualification despite election – like the case of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi whose election to Parliament was declared null and void in 1975 on grounds of electoral malpractices because she had used government resources including helicopter for campaigning.

• An independent, credible and professional Elections Commission to carry out the constitutional duty to conduct free and fair elections, and not one which claims that its responsibility is to conduct elections with no powers to ensure it is clean, free and fair.

• Free and fair access to media;

• Fair and democratic redelineation of constituencies to give meaning to the principle of “one man, one vote, one value”.

For four decades these calls for a free, fair and clean electoral system had been ignored by UMNO and Barisan Nasional because they have been able to perpetuate their political power through such an undemocratic, unfair and even corrupt electoral system.

Is there now a genuine “change of heart” by the Prime Minister, UMNO and BN represented by the formation of the PSC for electoral reforms before Parliament today?

Although Datuk Seri Najib Razak is now wearing the mantle of political and democratic reform, Malaysians are entitled to question the bona fides of the Prime Minister’s sudden conversion to the cause of electoral reforms.

This is because of the government’s repression and undemocratic handling of the 709 Bersih 2 peaceful rally for free and fair elections.

If someone had been assigned beforehand to a special task to script the worst-possible scenario for the Najib administration in relation to the July 9 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally for fair and free elections, nobody could be so creative as to pre-plan the basketful of faux pas committed by the Barisan Nasional government before, during and after “709”.

Before 709

The basketful of faux pax before 709 included:

1. Arbitrary declaration of Bersih 2.0 as unlawful.

2. Ban on Bersih T-shirts and paraphernalia, to include even yellow T-shirts, coupled with indiscriminate arrests.

3. Reneging by the authorities of the proposed compromise of a stadium rally instead of a march – accepted by Bersih 2.0.

4. Police roadblocks causing infernal traffic congestions in and out of Kuala Lumpur and police lockdown of the federal capital on 709, alienating the general public.

5. Intemperate, extremist threats of counter-demonstrations and racial riots, even another May 13.

6. Abuse of court process in securing an ex parte injunction to ban 91 Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat leaders and activists from key areas in KL on 709.

7. Baseless invective and vicious campaign to demonise Bersih leaders, particularly Bersih Chairperson S. Ambiga, with wild and reckless charges to incite religious and racial hatred and tension.

8. Daily incitement of hate and campaign of lies by BN msm, both printed and electronic, particularly Utusan Malaysia.

9. Gross abuse of power in the arrest of Sungei Siput MP Dr. Michael Jeyakumar and other PSM activists first on the ridiculous charges of “waging war against the Agong” and “reviving communism” and later on EO detention-without-trial for being Bersih activists.

10. Refusal/failure of the Election Commission to respond to Bersih 2.0’s eight demands for free, fair and clean elections.

During 709

1. High-handed police action of mass arrests and individual cases of police violence and brutality.

2. Causing death of Baharuddin Ahmad.

3. Reckless and indiscriminate firing of tear gas without notice and into KL Sentral tunnel – an enclosed space – heedless of the safety of the Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat leaders and the public.

4. Wanton and criminal firing of tear gas and chemically-laced water cannon into Tung Shin Hospital grounds.

After 709

1. Najib’s fire-breathing speech to 6,000 UMNO leaders the morning after 709.

2. Further plunge in public credibility with police and Umno leaders disputing that 50,000 people had gathered in support of Bersih 2.0 rally, with IGP claiming that it was only 6,000, upped to 10,000 by Home Minister Hishammuddin with Najib later topping it to 15,000 in London!

3. Denial of responsibility for gross mishandling of 709 Bersih 2.0 rally, in particular denial of police brutality and violence and unwarranted tear gas and water cannon attacks at Tung Shih Hospital (by Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai) and KL sentral tunnel despite mountain of evidence whether eye-witnesses or video.

4. Warning by the Deputy Finance Minister, Awang Adek that Bank Negara could freeze the assets of Bersih leaders.

5. Censorship of Economist article “Taken to the cleaners — an overzealous government response to an opposition rally”.

6. Continued BN msm campaign of lies and falsehoods about imaginary “ghosts” and “foes” to the extent that the Prime Minister’s Department had to issue a rare statement directed to the foreign media only distancing itself from Utusan’s preposterous charge of Bersih-Jewish link to topple the BN government – which also illustrates the impotence of the PM and UMNO President to exercise check and control over Utusan, UMNO official organ.

How is it possible for any government to commit such a basketful of faux pas before, during and after the 709 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally if it is genuinely committed to democracy, human rights and clean electoral system?

As a result, the overseas visit of the Prime Minister to the United Kingdom, the Vatican and France proved to be quite a disaster with the Prime Minister pursued by the international media over the government’s mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally.

Has the Prime Minister finally woken up the fact that he had grossly mishandled 709 Bersih 2 rally, which had further alienated Malaysian voters as a whole?

DAP, Pakatan Rakyat, the civil society and Malaysians as a whole have therefore more than legitimate grounds to doubt the government’s sincerity and real purpose with this PSC proposal – whether there is a genuine change of heart or political ploy.

Since we are setting up the PSC, this motion is not the proper occasion for a full debate for the reform of a free, fair and clean electoral system as this should be addressed by the PSC, but Malaysians are entitled to firm assurances that the PSC is not a political ploy but a genuine ‘change of heart’ to reform the electoral system.

Can the Prime Minister give such assurances, which should include the following:

1. A firm undertaking that Parliament will not be dissolved and the next general elections held until PSC recommendations and reforms for a free, fair and clean electoral system have been fully implemented?

2. Bersih 2.0’s Eight Demands for Free and Fair Elections to be integral part of the PSC’s terms of reference;

3. Revokethe government ban on Bersih 2.0 and full consultation of all national stakeholders and the civil society in the PSC deliberations and decision-making process.

4. The PSC should not be excuse for the Election Commission from carrying out immediate electoral reforms which need not and should not await deliberations by the PSC, as cleaning up the electoral list, eradication of electoral abuses and ensuring that every eligible voter can meaningfully cast his or her vote in elections.

Let me declare that despite our differences, and what had happened in the past, including the recent 709 Bersih 2.0 episode, and whatever doubts and reservations about the bona fides of the proposed PSC, DAP, PR and Malaysians as a whole want the PSC to succeed in bringing about electoral reforms so that we have a free, fair and clean electoral system.

We pledge our full support to make the PSC a success and not a failure like the two Select Committees of the previous Parliament, one of National Integrity and the other on National Unity, with both unable to submit their full final reports when the Parliament was dissolved. In fact, in the case of the Parliamentary Select Committee on National Integrity, the Minister who chaired it, then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, had to resign in frustration when he encountered resistance, opposition and even boycott by government departments and senior government officers when seeking information, particularly on Project Mahathir on the illegal massive legalisation and enfranchisement of illegal immigrants in Sabah, through the issue of false citizenship documents and the right to vote!

Can the Prime Minister give an assurance that there will be no such resistance, opposition or boycott by any government department or senior government officer and that the PSC on electoral reforms will be given the fullest government co-operation including on Project Mahathir, the illegal enfranchisement of illegal immigrants not only in Sabah but throughout Malaysia?

While DAP and PR representatives on the PSC will fully cooperate to ensure that PSC is a meaningful, successful and historic exercise in the process of democratisation in Malaysia, we will not be a party if the PSC turns out to be a political ploy just to allow the Prime Minister and the BN to gain political mileage and score political points without any intention and sincerity to carry out meaningful reforms to ensure a free, fair and clean electoral system in time for the next general election.

I will conclude by calling on the Prime Minister by “walking the talk” of his recent statement of wanting to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” by retracting his “crushed bodies, lives lost” declaration (“walau berkecai tulang dan juga badan, walau bercerai jasad dari nyawa”) to the UMNO General Assembly last year and make a public commitment that he, UMNO and Barisan Nasional will accept the verdict of the people, including a change of government in Putrajaya in the next general election.

Speech on motion to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms in Dewan Rakyat on 3 October 2011

  1. #1 by megaman on Monday, 3 October 2011 - 4:57 pm

    Anyone that believes what the BN government says unconditionally is a plain idiot.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Monday, 3 October 2011 - 7:58 pm

    Yes must support the idea and with reservations for everyone knows it is another hollow show..but don’t say it.
    Malaysians are no fools.
    We can read low class vote getting tactics too.
    6 BN guys make the final decisions….adding maybe 3 or 4 oppositions?
    Who are they kidding?
    Many court cases were so predictable too.
    This will be the same.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Monday, 3 October 2011 - 8:02 pm

    Yes…must support the idea with reservations.
    We can read the outcome too.
    It is another show with predictable results.
    It’s purely vote getting show piece…which we are quite used to their trends and ideas.
    Malaysians are no fools.

  4. #4 by tak tahan on Monday, 3 October 2011 - 10:31 pm

    I,for sure,will never ever or try to believe Najis’s word cause he has plenty full of saihole’s shits.He is the most laughable PM in the world and yet this idiotic flip-flop wants to create Canland to be the best democracy in the WORLD?Kepala otak kau lah,ar##ole!Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.Get Bersih 3.0 ready if no reform on electoral process before the next GE…when ler???ABU!

  5. #5 by Cinapek on Monday, 3 October 2011 - 11:35 pm

    Unlike Najib who refused to join the Bersih march for electoral reforms when he was invited, the PR must shame him by accepting his invitation to join the PSC.

    Having said that, a leopard never changes its spots, more so a cornered leopard like Najib so PR must be very careful not to be misled into a trap by BN. This invitation is too good to be true so PR must watch them like a hawk in order not to be used by BN and EC to rubber stamp and legitimise their shennanigans.

  6. #6 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 - 7:49 am

    Lets not kid ourselves what this is. Najib has been very consistent to create buzz with expensive PR of each and every major policy but EVERYTIME it has been dishonest – 1Msia, Economic ‘Transformation’, ‘New’ Economic Model, etc. etc. THIS and removal of ISA is not different. The tell-tale signs are all there like those before.

    How many more times must Malaysian fall for the same line again and again. Fool you once, its his fault – but 3/4 times – Malaysian need to take a hard look at themselves. They can’t handle the truth..

  7. #7 by dagen on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 - 8:46 am

    Oh yes including project mahathir, that dr mamak’s secret recipe for baking miniature bumiputras.

    And umno supporters in the country (e.g. the rambutan idiot) do not seem to realise that crumbs left behind for them, under the NEP, after umnoputras have had their feast and orgy are being shared by a fast expanding pool of bumiputras. It used to be “gor beh si, chiak beh pui” for them. Very soon it will become “boh kau chiak”.

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