Restoring electoral integrity must be top priority

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The Electoral Integrity Project (EIP), an independent academic project based at Harvard University and the University of Sydney, has ranked Malaysia’s electoral boundaries as the most biased of the 155 countries assessed in a recently published report.

In a study conducted by the EIP in 2015, Malaysia ranked 114th out of 127 countries surveyed with low electoral integrity. In 2014, it ranked 66th out of the 73 countries surveyed. It was reported recently that Malaysia now lies in the doldrums, ranking 142nd out of 158 countries in terms of electoral integrity. This puts the Southeast Asian country in the same class as Zimbabwe (143), Vietnam (147) and Afghanistan (150).  Malaysia has a much lower ranking than troubled Myanmar, which is at number 83.

Elections provide the main opportunities for citizens to participate in politics and hold community leaders, elected representatives, government officials and institutions, public luminaries and others to account

Elections provide the main opportunities for citizens to participate in politics and hold community leaders, elected representatives, government officials and institutions, public luminaries and others to account. When they work well, elections can deepen civic and civil engagement, inform public debate, stimulate organized competition, facilitate peaceful leadership transitions, hold governments and their machinery to account, and indisputably allow the non-violent resolution of political conflict through the pacific settlement of disputes in the form of independent, clean, free and fair elections.

Despite years of pressuring the Malaysian Election Commission (EC) to ensure free, fair and unbiased elections – the EC continues to demonstrate its incompetence and lack of professionalism to the effect that the Malaysian Bar has condemned the latest unconstitutional redelineation. Furthermore, irrebuttable evidence has emerged that websites and blogs and social media accounts in Malaysia are being selectively and deliberately blocked to prevent the free flow of independent information. The recent passage of anti-fake news legislation further adds to the anger and resentment of the populace, and lawyers are expressing the view that it is unconstitutional.

Even Universiti Malaya’s pre-eminent law professor, Azmi Sharom, has publicly vented his profound vexation and fervent wish for the much-anticipated incoming Pakatan Harapan Federal Government to conduct the long-awaited reforms on various institutions such as the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the abolition via repeal of the recently passed anti-fake news law, the Sedition Act and the National Security Act among others.

In his recently proclaimed assertion of electoral fraud, the MP for Klang in the State of Selangor, Charles Santiago, has demanded that the EC show letters to prove that several Klang residents asked to have their voting addresses transferred to Kamunting in the state of  Perak. The highly fraudulent nature of their transfers to a constituency in another state – more than 200 kilometers from their home – has not only left the entire nation flabbergasted but fuming with potent intensity.

In a private two-hour interview with Asia Times in early April 2018, the elected representative in the state of Sarawak, See Chee How, shed tears as he recaptured the sacrificial spirit and tenacity of the slain activists of Pakatan Harapan who were brutally killed for their love of justice among others , Bill Kayong and Teoh Beng Hock, just to name a few.

Chee How, a fellow lawyer, my old classmate of nearly two decades past, who has been threatened numerous times with assault and even had his residence hit with a Molotov cocktail bomb clearly stated that the refusal of the EC to engage with citizens’ initiated election watchdog organisations in Malaysia and even international observers has sparked strong condemnations and cast doubt on the integrity and commitment of the purportedly independent EC to conduct a free and fair election. He clearly postulated the undeniable existence of electoral fraud.

I had already embarked on an investigative path for the writing of this article and discovered that Jaffar Ali apparently was on the electoral roll as a registered voter for the 2004 General Elections (GE), 2008 GE, 2013 GE and is also slated to vote in the upcoming 2018 GE due in May 2018.  How can it be that Mahathir Mohamad’s late brother-in-law is still a registered voter when he passed away in 2001?  A registered voter has been deceased for nearly 17 long years!

Mahathir, the leading Malaysian statesman, former prime minister and  chairman of the Pakatan Harapan coalition wasn’t the premier and head of the executive branch of the Federal Government of Malaysia in 2004, 2008, 2013 and is definitely not today.  Thus, Mahathir is exonerated!

To his credit, Mahathir has been consistently proclaiming electoral fraud, 1MDB kleptocracy, the brutally horrific Altantuya murder, and other lies and issues on the part of the current regime and the powers-that-be, royal or commoner,  that support them and their atrocities.

My sedulous expose has clearly unnerved the crooks and the institutions that support them and has prompted the Malaysian populace and the international community to punish the current ruling regime.

The ongoing massive crowds at the Pakatan Harapan rallies and functions underscore the people’s ardent vehemence in installing the coalition as the savior administrator in the new federal and state government administrations.

Malaysians and the international community are fervently committed to fighting for justice.  As the Pakatan Harapan coalition, the Alliance or Pact of Hope, instinctively unites people under one common logo, that of the Justice Party. It has become the Beacon of Hope.

For hope springs eternal.

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