Friday, February 22, 2008

SPR berdolak dalih penggunaan dakwat kekal / Do we have free and fair elections?

(Cetak dan Sebarkan Berita Kepada Rakyat!)


PAS kesal SPR berdolak dalih dengan penggunaan dakwat kekal

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Feb: PAS melahirkan kekesalannya yang amat sangat langkah SPR yang berdolak dalih dengan isu penggunaan dakwat kekal dan bimbang nasibnya sama dengan peraturan bangsal panas menjelang pilihan raya umum 2004 lalu.

"Menjelang 2004 lalu, SPR memanggil semua pemimpin parti politik memaklum penggunaan bangsal panas di pusat-pusat pengundian dimansuhkan. Tetapi menjelang pilihan raya, ia telah dibenarkan secara senyap-senyap oleh SPR dengan memaklumkannya dengan lebih awal kepada BN.

"Kini, dua tiga bulan lalu SPR secara besar-besaran memaklumkan penggunaan dakwat kekal untuk menghalang pengundian berganda namun menjelang pilihan raya kini ketika pemimpin PAS bertemu mereka, dimaklumkan bahawa ia tidak wajib, hanya satu pilihan sahaja dengan alasan tidak ada undang-undang yang boleh mewajibkannya, " kata Setiausaha Agung PAS, Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar kesal.

Kalau alasan undang-undang, katanya, kenapa undang-undang menambah umur pengerusi SPR boleh digubal segera untuk membolehkan Tan Sri Rashid terus mengemudi SPR dalam pilihan raya ini, tetapi penggunaan dakwat kekal tidak boleh diaktakan.

Tong lutsinar

PAS juga, katanya, mula dapat melihat apa agenda sebenar SPR apabila menggunakan tong undi lutsinar kerana ia tidak pernah diminta oleh mana-mana parti pembangkang sebelum ini.

�Kami dapat maklumat, Puteri Umno dalam kempen mereka kepada glongan tertentu mula mengugut rakyat kononnya mereka tahu undi mereka kerana dapat melihat kertas undi mereka dalam tong yang lutsinar itu,� kata Kamarudin (pic) kepada Siasah.

Sebelum ini, antara pemimpin PAS yang awal membantah penggunaan tong lutsinar adalah Setiausaha Perhubungan PAS Kelantan, Datuk Takiyudin Hassan.

Beliau memberikan alasan ia bakal dimanipulasi oleh BN terhadap pengundi tertentu yang bimbang undi tidak rahsia lagi.

Baru-baru ini, Bersih telah menghantar memorandum kepada Yang Dipertuan Agung bagi memohon baginda menubuhkan Suruhanjaya Diraja bagi menyiasat perjalanan pilihan raya ke 12 ini berikutan beberapa perkara yang berlaku termasuk manipulasi penggunaan dakwat kekal.

Bersih menuntut empat perkara bagi mempastikan pilihan raya kali ini berjalan dengan bersih, adil dan saksama.

Tuntutan itu adalah akses kepada media, pemansuhan undi pos, pembersihan daftar pemilih dan penggunaan dakwat kekal untuk mengelak pengundian berganda.

Kesemua tuntutan itu tidak diterima kecuali penggunaan dakwat kekal namun kini ia menjadi permainan pihak SPR sahaja, kata AJK Bersih, Dr Syed Azman Ahmad Nawawi.

Aida Mustafa wrote:
............ ......... ......... ......... .



Aida Mustafa
ku melihat macam burung
tidak spt katak bawah tempurung


Do we have free and fair elections?

The following article was published in The Edge Financialy Daily on Feb 19, 2008

A survey called "Voice of the People" conducted by TNS and Gallup International late last year showed that 74% of Malaysians answered yes to whether "elections in your country are free and fair."

Yet, the Bersih rally saw people gathered in the tens of thousands to demand "free and fair" elections while Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has warned that the upcoming general election could be the dirtiest to date and expressed fears that illegal means would be used to influence voters.

Who is right?

Let's try to define what "free and fair elections" is and isn't. Firstly, the very fact that you hold elections regularly does not by itself mean they are "free and fair" since dictators can rig the election process. Remember how Saddam Hussein used to win 100% of the votes?

But even if there is no vote-rigging, that alone does not make elections "free and fair". There need to be an even playing field for all sides. No system is perfect, of course, but some election systems are freer and fairer than others.

Take the US. While I'm sure there is no shortage of people who would gladly point out that there are flaws within the US election system, nobody can seriously say the Democrats or the Republicans have any inherent structural advantage over the other.

The US State Department provides some guidelines on keeping elections "free and fair" which are quite useful as a general check-list. Let's see how Malaysia stacks up.

On some points, Malaysia scores well.

Universal suffrage for all eligible men and women to vote
Here, Malaysia does well. Everyone of age can register to vote. People often complain that the preparation and revision of the electoral roll takes too long. And it does. It used to be nine months, now it's three. That's still way too long. But hey, this issue first really came to widespread public consciousness in 1999 when hundreds of thousands of voters could not register in time. Well, it's 2008. If you're still not registered by now, where have you been?

Freedom to run for public office
Again, Malaysia scores well here. Opposition parties are allowed to contest in every constituency. And if you're a politician who does not belong to any political party, you can run as an independent.

Freedom of speech to criticize the incumbent
The opposition can and does criticize the government vehemently as anybody who attends opposition ceramahs and rallies or read political blogs can see. Yes, there are laws against sedition and others that can be used to suppress political speech but it really can't be said that the opposition is not allowed to criticize the government.

Voting process
This includes accessible polling places, private voting space, secret ballots, recount and contestation procedures. Malaysia does fairly well here. It's been announced that transparent plastic ballot boxes, indelible ink and ballot papers without serial numbers would be used in this election. The Election Commission is also supportive of efforts by election watchdog, Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel), to monitor the conduct of the general election.

Now, onto where Malaysia scores badly.

Numerous opportunities for voters to receive objective information from a free press
Many mainstream media outlets in this country are either directly or indirectly owned by government parties and all are required to apply for annual licences. That alone, by definition, means we do not have a free press. There is also nothing even closely resembling an "equal time" rule for political parties. Take a look at the media coverage during this election period and you will see that clearly, the government has the advantage.

Freedom to assemble for political rallies and campaigns
As the Bersih and Hindraf rallies have shown, freedom of assembly is an issue in Malaysia. Government and pro-government rallies typically get police permits fairly easily. Those by the opposition and NGOs critical of the government have a much harder time. Of course during the official campaign period, the opposition is able to hold rallies without a police permit, but that's only for very limited time. As we in Malaysia get caught up with election fever, the Americans are experiencing the same thing. One difference is that their election will be at the end of the year, while ours is next month.

In addition to the two contentious points above, there are some worrying issues specific to our country that have been highlighted many times in the past but have yet to be adequately addressed.

Use of state resources
The incumbent should not be allowed to use state resources for electioneering purposes. This includes state broadcaster, RTM, which is publicly funded. Allocation of state funds for development projects during the campaign period is also something that should be disallowed. EC Chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has said this is something that has been going on for years, and simply advised those who are in doubt to "go to the courts".

Electoral roll irregularities
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence (which appear in blogs and other online media) of the existence of phantom voters and the exclusion or involuntary transfer of genuine voters. Postal votes are also a controversial issue because of the secrecy and lack of accountability involved. At the time of writing, the EC has not made a decision on whether candidates' agents would be allowed to witness the counting of postal votes.

Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin once famously proclaimed that we are not Pakistan or Burma (Myanmar). He's right. We are not. But are those countries the benchmark by which we want to measure our democracy? No, there's no outright vote-rigging in Malaysia but there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Oon Yeoh is a commentator who normally writes for The Edge weekly. He'll be writing a series of commentaries/ analyses for the 12th General Election.

(BERSIH! Kuala Terengganu, 22 February!)

Lawati laman 10November di http://10nov. himpunan. info/
Lawati laman Bersih di http://bersih. org/


Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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