Post-Bersih 3 Reflections for Free and Fair Elections

by Proham
30th April 2012

Proham observes that the Bersih3 gathering on April 28, 2012 has ushered in an unstoppable move towards greater democratic freedoms in Malaysia. It is clear from the rally that the climate offear which once dominated citizens’ action in the past has been lifting.

Proham recognises that ordinary citizens are now demanding for greater public space for expressions of discontentment and exercising their human rights as citizens of Malaysia. The unprecedented size of the crowds who flocked into the city, defying authority’sban and restrictions reveal this new growing trend.

Proham’s analysis reveals that on the whole , the citizens on the streets came in peace and conducted themselvesin a peaceful way even extending peace flowers to enforcement officials. Proham also notes that the Police on the whole exercised much restraint and the enforcementofficials must be commended for this.

Proham analysis also indicates that among the demonstrators were some individuals who behaved in a violent way that is unacceptable. This included breaking through Police barricades, kicking Police officers who fell and turning a Police patrol car upside down. Proham condemns such violent behaviour and calls on the authorities to undertake the necessary investigations and bring due charges

Proham recognises that a number of Police officers and authorities have roughen up the members of the media. Police action in shooting tear-gas and chemical water has resulted in some reactive aggression from demonstrators and on the whole has impacted on a large number of peaceful citizens in a very negative way.

Therefore Proham calls on the Federal government to institute an independent panel to investigate into all these allegations and this could be undertaken by Suhakam with some urgency.

Proham also calls on the Federal Government not to lose sight of the real reason for the peaceful demonstration which is the unhappiness of a large section of citizens over the findings ofthe Parliamentary Select Committee and how parliament handled the report.

There is also a great deal of mistrust on the part of the public that the many sound recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee will be addressed in time before the impending elections .

There is also major public concernon the independence of the Election commission, with the revelation that the Chairman and Deputy Chairman are members of the major ruling political party. Proham feels that the Election Commission should have guidelines in future to insist that EC members should not be members of political parties and that they should not be retired civil servants. This is essential to protect the integrity and independence of the EC in future.

Proham considers that the whole EC law must be reviewed and reformed to make the EC much more relevant to public demands for cleaner and fairer elections by adopting ‘best practices’ that can be easily found from worldwide experiences.

These concerns must be urgently addressed before the 13th General Elections. Proham therefore calls upon the government to immediately undertake to introduce electoral reforms that could be adopted and implemented well before the election day .

If some of these important recommendations need more time for implementation , then Proham recommends that the elections be delayed until such time as these Parliamentary recommendations can be implemented on time.

There has to be transformation of our electoral system soon otherwise our forthcoming election will be doubted all over the world since yesterday’s rally and the violence has been seen worldwide.

Proham hopes that the Malaysian voters will gain from Bersih 3 rally and Federal Government support and move forward the agenda for a better, cleaner and fairer elections and outcomes, in the coming 13th general elections

Issued on behalf of Proham by: Tan Sri Simon Sipaun (Proham Chairman), Prof Hamdan Adnan (Proham Vice Chairman), Tan Sri Ramond Navaratnam (Proham member) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Exco)

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 - 12:12 am

    Why didn’t you all, as Commissioners then, do something about the short-comings, many of which were outstanding even during your times?

    Why lament now when you could have all done something then? Were you all forceful enough or were you all cowed then?

    It is very easy to come out with statements, recommendations and criticisms now when you are no longer in a position to do anything. You have all missed your chances to do something positive for the nation, to leave your legacies.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 - 8:01 am

    Bersih says the govt has accepted 1 out of 8 demands, KJ representing UMNO-Perkasa/BN has said they accepted 7 out of 8.

    How in god world are they ever going to come to agreement of issues when they miles apart on agreement of FACTS?

    Its already going into four days after Bersih 3.0 and Najib & Co continues to pound the same old losing lines and strategy he has been doing i.e., keep battling a battle he/they has/have lost with an enemy that knows they have won and simply watching him/them struggling.

    Like Sodomy 1.0 & 2.0 and the other Bersih each time they continue to fight even when they have lost insisting to damage as much as possible even if they lose, instead of doing their job and leading.

    The bottom line is UMNO-Perkasa/BN don’t want to and will not do what we want them to do, what is our right, what is our dues. They just think they are the bosses and not us the rakyat.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 - 8:37 am

    Analysts suggest that frustration over the government’s aloofness to calls for democratic reforms led to a surge in numbers at Saturday’s Bersih rally when compared to the previous assembly on July 9 last year……..James Chin, who heads social sciences at the Monash University in Sunway, pointed out that frustration over lagging reforms has conquered the sense of fear that has kept the general public in check for decades. (The Malaysian Insider).

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 - 9:08 am

    Pls CRY 4 me, Malaysia, a land hijacked by UmnoB/BN which bully n sup press rakyat, their REAL BOSS; time 2 STORM P’jaya n VOTE 4 PR, must achieve ABU, now or never in GE13

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