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Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


GE-13 Before PSC? Another Jekyll And Hude Stunt From The PM

Posted: 19 Aug 2011 11:30 PM PDT

Malaysia Chronicle

The Prime Minister's statement that elections can be held before full reforms by the Parliamentary Select Committee is a statement that is surely in bad taste and bad faith.

It shows critics were right in warning that the true nature of the PSC was merely a bargaining tool to stem and delay real and critically-needed election reforms. Najib Razak was only trying to bolster public confidence in the BN and not cleaning up the election system. After all, the UMNO argument goes, why should he or the BN when the existing system is specifically built to ensure their continued stay in power?

Whatever hope Najib gave on Monday, he killed on Friday. This is indeed a Jekyll and Hyde leader, and without doubt the worst ever amongst the country’s 6 prime ministers. His supporters may rush and defend him but the acid test is simply this, what has distinguished his administration other than Scandal (and with a capital S too!).

So, tricked again by their own PM, Malaysians must now figure out other ways to push for electoral reform. Otherwise, a dark future beckons as more leaders like him emerge to run the country.

Look at the Singapore system

It is interesting to note that Singapore is heading into a presidential election, a contest that has been tagged asThe Battle of the Four Tans. Now, no one in the right minds would ever say Lee Kuan Yew is more democratic than Mahathir Mohamad. And yet the extremely tightly-held island republic is willing to make changes even if these threaten its awesome hold on power. The reason why? Perhaps it’s because it knows it won’t lose power anytime soon and also because it knows that, to not embrace the new politics demanded by the world’s Gen Y would only leave Singapore trapped under the proverbial coconut shell. Singapore would lag side by side with Perkasa’s Malaysia. Something for us all to ponder on.

What is significant for Malaysians to note about the Singapore presidential race is the introduction of the electronic ballot slip. The island’s 2.1 million voters receive their ballot slips via post. Voting registration in Singapore is automatic and it is an offence for voters not to cast their votes. If one fails to vote, their names are taken off the electoral roll and to reinstate one's vote, one needs to pay a fine. The introduction of this electronic ballot is something new in the coming Singapore presidential election and introduced by the Election Commission of Singapore.

And before the guys in UMNO rush to claim positive comparison with Najib’s biometric voter verification system, let’s kill the idea. These are two completely different systems and the process involved are like day and night. One is shrouded in secrecy and lame excuses, while the other is open to audit.

The catalyst for Singapore introducing electronic ballot papers is even more interesting. In its recently concluded general elections, 4 residents out of the 2.1 million voter base did not receive their ballots papers. The 4 lodged a complaint, and the Election Commission was forced to react. It assured it would seek a solution to ensure that all citizens could perform their constitutional right to vote.

Thus, the introduction of the electronic ballot paper. The aim of this system is so that a Singaporean can never lose the chance to cast his or her vote. He or she logs into the government website, views details of the candidates, the location of the polling station and prints out the ballot slip. Vote casting is assured and the constitutional right of the voter is protected. Whether the system truly stands up to test remains to be seen, but in Singapore, the citizens trust that the Election Commission will protect their rights. Do a poll, check and see if the Malaysian Election Commission commands the same public trust.

Not a moment to lose

Enough said about Singapore. Back to Kuala Lumpur, where the prerogative in calling for general elections rest solely with the Prime Minister. He needs only the endorsement of the Agong. Parliament would then be dissolved and the Election Commission given the green light to kick off all the processes needed to conduct elections.

Which brings us back to the question of, if the elections are held before the PSC reforms are in place, then why the need for a PSC in the first place? Is Malaysia so rich? Are its lawmakers so free? A PSC that serves no purpose is a waste of public funds and time. It is meaningless and merely for window-dressing’s sake. But let’s move away from the PSC now, which is after all waste of time as we have argued.

Let’s look to Bersih’s 8 election reforms. These are (1) to clean the electoral roll, (2) reform postal ballots, (3) use of indelible ink, (4) have a minimum 21 days campaign period, (5) free and fair access to media, (6) strengthen public institutions, (7) stop corruption and (8) stop dirty politics.

More than ever, the Malaysian people must push for these BASIC safety nets to be implemented NOW. There is not a moment to lose.

Bersih: Electoral Reforms Pointless if Polls Held First

Posted: 19 Aug 2011 11:23 PM PDT

The Malaysian Insider

Bersih 2.0 is insisting that the next general election should only be called after the parliamentary select committee's (PSC) recommendations on electoral reforms are implemented, saying today anything earlier would make the panel "pointless".

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that federal polls could be held anytime and would not depend on the proceedings of the panel that will be formed in October.

"This totally defeats the purpose and spirit of setting up the PSC as it is meant to resolve serious fraudulent practices in the electoral processes," said Bersih 2.0 in a statement issued by its steering committee today.

"The PSC would be pointless if Parliament is dissolved before the committee presents its report to Parliament," the electoral reform movement added.

Najib, however, also said that despite the fact that the panel will also be dissolved along with Parliament before general elections, whatever reforms that could be carried out before that would be executed first.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman announced the panel last Monday in what was a major concession to Bersih 2.0, whose July 9 rally was met with stern police action before and during the march, resulting in nearly 1,700 arrests on the day of the march.

But Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has said that the electoral panel would take a year to conclude discussions.

Najib, who must call a general election by early 2013, has delayed Umno polls that were due in April this year, but the party's constitution states that they can only be delayed by 18 months, which coincides with October next year, exactly when Wan Junaidi believes the committee will begin wrapping up.

With speculation that Najib will call snap election soon, Wan Junaidi's comments could mean that the parliamentary panel would not be able to present its findings as the Umno president would likely dissolve Parliament ahead of potentially fractious party polls.

Bersih 2.0 also stressed today that the select committee should be chaired by a federal opposition lawmaker.

"The function of the PSC is to cross-examine the electoral system as administered by the government of the day… the Cabinet's decision to appoint a Cabinet minister to chair the Committee is an indication that the Cabinet fails to understand the principle of separation of powers," said the group.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said yesterday that the practice was according to convention, and was not a House rule.

He also reiterated that the panel will comprise nine members — five from BN, including a minister as chairman, one from each of Pakatan Rakyat (PR)'s three parties and one independent representative.

Bersih 2.0 insisted that federal polls must be delayed until after the implementation of reforms such as a clean-up of the electoral roll, the use of indelible ink, automatic voter registrations, reform of the postal vote system, and a minimum 21-day campaign period.

The electoral reforms group called on the select committee to engage experts, release its final reports to the public before presenting them to the Cabinet and Parliament, and conduct nationwide public hearings.

"The PSC should (also) be given leave to sit while Parliament is in session… Bersih 2.0 maintains our call for the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on electoral reforms to study the larger issues of elections and democracy such as electoral system, a full review of all electoral laws and the membership of the Election Commission," it said.

‘Sepatutnya Bersih pilihanraya, Bukan Upah PR Asing

Posted: 19 Aug 2011 11:19 PM PDT

Malaysiakini

Malaysia mungkin menikmati urus tadbir lebih baik sekiranya wang untuk mengupah syarikat perhubungan awam asing diguna untuk membersihkan sistem pilihan raya dan memperkenalkan usaha antirasuah lebih cepat.

Setiausaha politik kepada Menteri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim berkata, urus tadbir yang baik juga boleh dicapai dengan memperkasa komuniti ekonomi kurang terbela dan melabur dalam infrastruktur awam yang mapan.

“Sekiranya kerajaan persekutuan memerlukan bantuan, nasihat, contoh atau semua di atas dengan berhubung perbelanjaan dana awam dengan cara yang lebih cekap serta memberi manfaat kepada rakyat, kerajaan negeri Selangor dengan senang hati sedia berkongsi kepakarannya,” kata Faekah Husin.

Sebagai respons kepada dakwaan kerajaan mengupah FBC media limited Britain untuk menggilap imejnya, Faekah berkata, pihaknya terkejut kerana wang pembayar cukai dibelanjakan dalam jumlah yang banyak “semata-mata untuk menaikkan imej perdana menteri dan kerajaan” yang didakwa tercalar teruk.

Ia antaranya disebabkan cara kerajaan mengendalikan perhimpunan BERSIH 2.0 pada 9 Julai lalu, selain tuduhan-tuduhan rasuah dan ketidakcekapan pentadbiran yang kini mencapai tahap paling rendah, tambahnya.

Stesen penyiaran antarabangsa BBC pada 17 Ogos lalu dilaporkan mengakui menyiarkan rancangan yang diterbit FBC yang diupah kerajaan Malaysia kepada jutaan penonton di seluruh dunia.

Bagaimanapun semua rancangan yang dibekalkan oleh syarikat perhubungan awam yang berpangkalan di London itu telah digantung.

Sejak 2009, syarikat itu telah menerbitkan sekurang-kurangnya empat dokumentari mengenai Malaysia.

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