Let us not forget free and fair elections

— Galvin Wong
The Malaysian Insider
May 17, 2012

MAY 17 — The last two weeks have been filled with events that have displayed violence, disrespect and the true character of politics. On April 28, we experienced Bersih 3.0, the biggest protest in our country’s history that started off on a good note but quickly degraded into an event of confusion and violence. The days that followed were filled with allegations and blame shifting from all parties involved. After that came the burger selling and bum exercise incidents in front of Ambiga Sreenevasan’s house. And just two days ago, DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim ended a dispute he had with the party by resigning on national TV.

I write this article today not to talk about these incidents, but to remind us that all these incidents have stemmed from one issue we all fought for in July last year and in April this year — free and fair elections.

Our focus and the pressure placed on the government have both diminished and shifted away due to the many other incidents that have happened. One reason I feel the Election Commission has not done much since 2007 is because we failed to place constant pressure on them. The public scrutiny on their work came in waves, the 2007, 2011 and this year’s waves. After they weathered the short storm during these years, they went on in a business-as-usual mode, only succeeding in fulfilling ONE Bersih demand — the use of indelible ink.

The media has ceased reporting on the work of the EC in their role in ensuring cleaner and fairer elections. Partly because of the juicy newer bits of news, partly because there has been NO news from the EC since the public display of the supplementary role! Politicians themselves have also failed to follow up on the progress of the EC. Pakatan Rakyat, after vigorously championing for clean and fair elections before Bersih 3.0, has not mentioned this issue in the past weeks. It is said that Malaysians are notoriously forgetful. Being our leaders, it is part of their responsibility to remind us about unresolved issues we care about that we may forget from time to time.

We must remember that elections are not far off; various analysts predict that it will be in late June, early July. Prime Minister Najib Razak, if he is really serious about winning fairly should postpone elections until all major Parliamentary Select Committee recommendations are implemented. Let us not be distracted but keep our focus during this period. Only through consistent public scrutiny and pressure can we ensure those who marched on April 28 did not do so in vain.

  1. #1 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Thursday, 17 May 2012 - 2:42 pm

    Somehow a lot of people did not seem to realise one point. The rally did not degrade or turn into something other than what was first planned, i.e. peaceful gathering.

    In fact the gathering in many places started the night before and gained momentum the next day. It way carnival like and a very happy occassion. Things then were still very much under ambiga & co’s control.

    However at round about 3:30 pm or so umno’s police decided to take over control of the crowd. That was when the event changed its character from ambiga & co’s bersih gathering to umno’s pandemonium and mess.

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 17 May 2012 - 4:05 pm

    What constitute ‘free and fair’ ?

    In Rubberland it is stretchable and we do have our own standards which were put in place by our ‘kiasu’ government for their benefit. So far the standards are ‘legal’ even though many would question and challenge its rules.

    We must therefore first decide what ‘free and fair’ should mean in Rubberland which everyone, including Tunku Aziz, would be happy to live with. Then execute the change.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Friday, 18 May 2012 - 2:43 am

    Has there ever been FREE n FAIR erections in dis UmnoB-land?

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