Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Bersih 2.0, a costly remake with same cast
Time and again, we are drawn to the movies for a remake of an old movie, only to find it not as good as the original.
The upcoming Bersih 2.0 walk is probably going to be the same.
Yesterday, I received an alert via FB that Bersih 2.0, The hard truth, was going to be held at the Loyar Burok office, and Haris Ibrahim would have been presenting the hard facts.
Flashback: 2007, 10 November. We gathered at Central Market annexe and was to be part of the Bersih walk. Then, Haris was adamant that the walk was apolitical. Strictly for Electoral reforms. That no politicians would hijack the walk. We did what we did, and made our way to the palace. (the rest is history, as out of nowhere popped Anwar, Sivarasa and a few others) There was also mention when RPK sms'd saying that the King had sent a whole armoured division to 'protect' the rakyat.
The hard truth?
Bersih represented by a group including Ambiga had met with The Election Commission on 9th of November 2010. They presented a 15 point memo titled 'Malaysian Civil Society's Memorandum on Electoral Reforms in Malaysia (2010) presented to EC, initiated by Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH).
What are the 15 points?
2.Lowering of voting age
3.Absentee voting for all
5.Constituency Redelineation - Minimising gerrymandering
6.Minimising malapportionment of constituencies
7.Contestation and Media - Meaningful campaign period
8.Free and fair media access
9.Election finance - control of party expenses
10.Public Finance of party expenses
11.right to contest election after resignation
13.Restoration of local government elections
14.electoral administration - full judicial scrutiny on election petitions
15.Right to observe elections
The memo carried a list of 70 NGOs, never mind those not registered, but call themselves NGOs.
I thought that some of the demands were indeed reasonable, but it would be too subjective to start naming them, as your opinion will definitely defer from mine, and mine from his, etc etc.
So it was rather surprising then to find that the EC had in fact addressed the points raised by Bersih.
However, what was said by Ambiga was that the EC had turned down their requests and had purportedly send the proposed changes to Cabinet, and that it was the cabinet that had turned down the change, insinuating that the EC was a tool of the government. Truth? EC never even 'submitted' any change request!
Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, in a briefing had made it absolutely clear that the EC is no tool of the office, and he had never once received any interference to his running of the EC. His team has spent much time preparing a note to expand on the actual demands of Bersih which can be put to this.
For example, some of the changes requested by Bersih would mean a need to change the federal constitution, e.g lowering of voting age. even the Indelible ink that was requested by Bersih would need a change in the constitution, as it clearly spells out those that are NOT ALLOWED to vote, and people with ink on their fingers is not one of it. Aziz also made it clear why the initial importation of ink was a faux-pas of the past admin.
Having met with the officers, i am confident that they are executing their duties to the best of their ability. I cannot explain how in some cases BN seats went to PR, and PR seats went to Bn in by elections. Ican only surmise that it's voter sentiments.
And what about phantom voters? Technically, I am a phantom voter. Yes.
You see, the law provides that you must be living in the same place you are registered as a voter (living more than 3 months), and your address must be changed to reflect that. Only ADUNS and MPs are given some relieve as to their address of residence, and that too there are other requirements.
So, living in Kelana Jaya now, and having lived in Subang Jaya before that, staying registered in Subang is actually a no-no.
As to Azmin Ali's assertion that the Ec has allowed 6 phantom voters in his mother's house? Prior to 2005, the registration of voters was carried out mostly by voter registration agents (currently to increase voter registration, the Ec has appointed many different bodies as agents, and this include political parties and NGOs, incidentally RM1 is paid out to each successful registration).
Unlike now, the agents prior to 2005 had mostly done block registration, enabling them to register voters simply by having their ICs checked, and address listed. The EC then had no inkling of the actual address used.
In other words, as long as you have an IC, the address listed in the registra may not reflect the address on the IC. This is the problem, and having to clean up the list would actually mean a physical check into these adresses. Removing the names is another issue, as then the Ec would be accused of removing opposition supporters, or even BN supporters from the gazetted electoral list.
You see the catch 22 the EC is in?
So, tirelessly, the administrative duties of the EC is an ongoing non stop process where it conducts investigations into allegations, such as this one from Azmin Ali. Do you know what else? Azmin's family itself practises phantom voting, as apart from his mother, his brother and sister too does not live there! Ironic isn't it?
which is why the Ec has been actively promoting the notion that as long as one has registered as a voter before, one should make it a point to check their address to ensure that they are listed in the place where they should vote. This way, by pro-actively being involved in the process of renewal, an updated list can be more reflective of those eligible to vote. (to check your registration go here)
Now, if we all can be rational and look at this objectively, we can all avoid the Thai situation. Isn't it?
So why did I say its a remake, Bersih 2.0? MCLM President, Bersih 2.0 steering commitee, Benar, SABM, People's Parliament, what else? Same-same lah......
Posted by Tony Yew at 11:33