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KUALA LUMPUR, May 14: Malaysia’s 14th general elections (GE14) was rife with corruption, fraud and malpractice, claims The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0).
In a press statement today, BERSIH 2.0 said election laws were ignored or enforced in an arbitrary and often biased manner.
Its findings were based on over 1,000 complaints made to BERSIH 2.0 on the conduct of GE14.
“It includes complaints that have gone through preliminary checks for validity, but have not yet been fully verified by our PEMANTAU coordinators,” the statement said.
BERSIH 2.0 also reiterated its preliminary findings on GE14 issued on May 6 this year.
The pre-election findings were based on ongoing monitoring of the electoral system since 2006 and observation of election offenses from Nov 1, 2017 to May 6, 2018.
“The Election Commission (EC) was found to have failed to command public confidence in managing the electoral process and system of Malaysia and ruined the integrity of GE14.
“This was namely through unconstitutional redrawing of election boundaries that was designed to unfairly benefit Barisan Nasional (BN), failure to clean up the electoral roll and prevent phantom voters, failure to prevent disenfranchisement of voters through an antiquated voter registration process and setting polling day on a Wednesday, May 10.
“EC has also set the bare minimum campaign period of 11 days, arbitrary disqualifications and prevention of nominations of candidates, failure to take action on election offences, including rampant vote buying, treating and corruption, or take a position on the conduct of caretaker governments and making unreasonable election regulations at the last minute, including preventing the face of now-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be displayed on campaign materials.
“EC also failed to reform the postal and advance voting system, allowing phantom voters to be registered as advance voters in uncompleted army camps and preventing transparency in the postal and advance voting process, failure to allow meaningful election observation, including blocking the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) from carrying out accredited observation work and giving accreditation to the Malaysian Youth Council, which openly campaigned for BN,” the statement said.
Polling day for GE14 took place on May 9.
According to the EC, the number of voters who voted in GE14 was 12,299,514 out of the total number of 14,940,624 registered voters (82.32 per cent).
Meanwhile, BERSIH 2.0 also received 278 complaints relating to the conduct of elections on polling day.
Ballot boxes for Parliament and State being wrongly labeled received the highest number with 62 complaints, followed by refusal to properly cross names off the electoral roll (37), impersonation and phantom voters (36), ballot papers issued without the official Election Commission stamp or serial numbers (28), ballot papers with markings (23), campaigning on polling day (19) and refusal to issue a fresh ballot despite spoiling ballots (11).
Others are difficulties in access to polling stations and difficulties in voting for the disabled (11), voters unknowingly registered as postal voters or postal voters’ names not crossed off electoral roll (10), Form 13 and Form 14 not correctly completed and issued (8), vote buying on polling day and the eve of polling (6), biased behavior by election officials and workers (6) and police recording race of voters (2).
BERSIH 2.0 reiterated that these complaints are those received as at May 10, 2018.
They believed that similar incidents are widespread across the country and encouraged members of the public, election workers, candidates and polling and counting agents to continue lodging reports online at aduan.pemantau.org, via WhatsApp (011-17721546) or phone 03-79314444 so that they can be included in the final report.
BERSIH 2.0 also condemned the Election Commission for its complicity in the attempts to obstruct democracy and the people’s right to vote.
“As an immediate response to these findings, BERSIH 2.0 demands the immediate resignation of all seven Election Commissioners or their removal should they refuse to resign, charging all the election commissioners and some election officers for contraventions of the law before, during and after the GE14 and setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the electoral system to pave the way for reforms. These actions must be completed within the next 100 days,” the statement said. — DayakDaily