GE 13: Election Commission, where is your institutional integrity?

March 26, 2013

GE 13: Election Commission, where is your institutional integrity?

NadeswaranYOU get home after a long day in the office. You notice a stack of envelopes on top of the letter box. Perhaps the postman left it there because he couldn’t have fitted them in the small box outside your home. The envelopes are all similar. You count them and there are 26 in all. Each is addressed to a different person whom you do not know. They could not have been previous occupants as you had lived there since it was built.

Out of curiosity, you open one of them. It is a message from a political party extending New Year greetings and other “feel good” messages. You have misgivings of having opened them by which time you had concluded that the names and addresses were from the voters’ register. Then, you ask yourself: How come so many people are using my address to register as voters? Don’t those in authority ask any questions?

Elsewhere, a man logs on to the website of the Election Commission. He keys in his identity card number and is provided the address of his voting centre. He does the same for his wife and is provided the same information. Out of curiosity, he keys in the identity card number of his daughter who is domiciled in Dublin. Hey presto! She’s registered to vote.

But she has been in Dublin for 16 years. She never registered as a voter and how did she end up being on the register? He calls her and she says she never registered as a voter.

In Klang, there are 62 people registered as voters in one postal address – a house in Pandamaran. How is it possible? It must be a muhibbah house where people of three races are living together. But how do you put 62 people in a double-storey house? The irony is that the owner of the house knows none of them and has provided a statutory declaration that he never authorised any one of them to use his address.

This is no longer politics or phantom voters as some have chosen to identify it. It’s much more. The integrity of a sacred institution of the government – the Election Commission – is being questioned. We as citizens cannot sit back in silence or pretend the problems do not exist.

And the stand that the commission has taken – “we need not even reply to queries like the above” is further aggravating the situation. While we pride ourselves as a democracy, how can such barefaced issues be not addressed at all?

Where can one seek some form of answers? Even the hands of the Judiciary are tied when it comes to matters related to the electoral roll. Two weeks ago, the Shah Alam High Court, while acknowledging a review of the electoral roll is of public interest, it took the stand that the court has no jurisdiction to order such a review.

“(It) is clearly prohibited under Section 9A of the Election Act,” said Justice Vernon Ong who cited the case of Mohd Sanusi Mohd Noor bin Abdullah, where the Federal Court in 2001 ruled that a gazetted electoral roll is final and cannot be questioned in court.

Section 9A of the Election Act reads: “After an electoral roll has been certified or re-certified, as the case may be, and notice of the certification or re-certification has been published in the Gazette as prescribed by regulations made under this Act, the electoral roll shall be deemed to be final and binding and shall not be questioned or appealed against, or reviewed, quashed or set aside by any court.”

The Election Act was amended by the government to disallow the judiciary from reviewing the gazetted electoral roll after that landmark ruling.

The court further strengthened the commission’s authoritarian role byAbdul-Aziz-Mohd-Yusof-Wan-Ahmad-Wan-Omar affirming that under existing legislation, the commission is not compelled to respond to queries raised by anyone on the discrepancies in the electoral roll.

“There’s no legal duty for the respondent (EC) to answer,” the court held. If that is the case, the ordinary citizen has no recourse if his name is removed from the electoral roll and the commission is not compelled to even respond to provide plausible answers for such removal. There is also no remedy for Joe Public if an entire contingent of people uses his house address to register as voters.

Let it be reiterated that this issue is non-political and is related to the issue of good governance of which accountability and transparency are the cornerstones. The commission cannot hide behind the “protective” clauses in the Act and sit back and refuse to address such blatant errors and omissions in the electoral rolls, especially when the elections are round the corner.

R. Nadeswaran says the mechanism for redress in any legislation via the judiciary should never be removed. Comments:

17 thoughts on “GE 13: Election Commission, where is your institutional integrity?

  1. Boy we are sitting ducks for the people in power. Kakak has done it again or some alien? Is seems we are beyond redemption, so help us God. No alternate views for the populace except the daily white proganda pounding their heads. We need a miracle to win this war what with all these dirty play.

  2. Too late for that Nades. The EC is just pretending to be neutral and inderpendent but this is just for show and for the benefit of the international community. But gain what can you really expect from the Chairman and his deputy who have previously had such a close relationship with UMNO. It will be an uphill task for the opposition in this election unless more people come to vote and are openly seen to be taking n interest in the elections. The vote for change must be convincing to the extend that these officials will be made aware of the consequences for cheating and depriving the voter his choice. And the international community in KL must themselves closely monitor and publicly make known any discrepancies/shortcomings.

  3. With such unethical and unprincipled people helming the EC with no fear of God Almighty, there is nothing much we motals can do. Let us just leave it to the big guy from above whom they will meet sooner or later…

    For want of a cushy job on the board of directorships in major GLCs post-retirement, these people will stoop as low as they can go, and even sell their grandmothers if they could, to please their political masters in Putarjaya. It makes me wonder, sometimes, if these people even know the word shame and how do they face their children and relatives or even can they sleep in peace doing these dirty things they are doing….

  4. The EC chief proudly said that that papa gomo wouldn’t be able to vote twice even with the double registration due to indelible ink. Had Bersih not ask for it does that mean people can vote more than once?

  5. This issue is of the people interest. A responsible government will react accordingly and will not keep a blind eyes or deaf ears. They will listen to us and look into the matters with urgency.

    Do you think the government that we have now is responsible enough? Ask yourself and decide…

  6. The heads of all the political appointees at the helm of govt agencies who do not remain politically neutral (as they should, while serving the Malaysian nation) will roll when the kleptocratic UMNO Baru-BN ruling regime is replaced.

    They will also be investigated for corruption, abuse of power or gross negligence of duty (such as those agencies regulating the Lynas project)

  7. Time to make these goons accountable for their misdeeds. But so long as BN is in the way they are untouchable. That’s the sad part of the story. As for them being Muslims that’s irrelevant as they are impervious to religious obligations and adherence. The chairman is prepared to wipe Jibby’s butt if need be.

  8. The only way for an alternative power to rise will depend on the wisdom of the nation, which surely needs the Almighty high above to intervene. All we can do now is to pray to the Almighty for good guidance. All that Bersih and NGOs can do is to increase the awareness of the masses and to educate them.

  9. If anyone care to do the Math … BN will win regardless of what 26 million Malaysians do at the voting booths.

    Everyone failed to take into account that BN has a lot of invisible supporters … the silent majority :
    a. 2 million Malaysians overseas who have miraculously registered to vote in the past few months and ALL of them voted for BN. You will be surprised that 100,000 Malaysians are residing in Kazakhstan.
    b. hundreds of thousands of armed service personnel who ALL voted for BN. Doesn’t matter whether these loyal Malaysians marked the ‘x’ at the opposition logo. Those papers are scraps anyway. Sacks of voting slips of the ‘correct votes’ have already been prepared.
    c. 2 million newly minted Malaysians who speaks fluent Bangladeshi, Indonesian and other language, except Malay, Chinese, Tamil / Hindi. They ALL voted for BN.
    d. Thousands of centenarians who ALL voted for BN. Malaysians lived healthy lifestyles. Everyone else should live like us.

    I supposed we should all be fortunate that we are marking ‘X’ on pieces of paper. BN forgot to computerise the voting system (or they are plain dumb to realise), otherwise, they would have at least another 13 million votes all of the sudden. All they need is to program the computer to their favour, e.g. for every second vote in the system will automatically be counted as BN’s vote regardless of who the voter actually click.

    So, you see, BN will win this time.

    Oh yes, so foolish of Malaysians to think that Election Commission is equivalent to its counterpart in other parts of the world. If BN can do Project IC, the EC is nothing.

  10. It is an undeniable truth that EC’s electoral roll is highly irregular and needs to be put right. But it needs time, perhaps 2-3 years or even longer to set this straight. Must the GE (along with state elections) be postponed until this exercise is completed?

    One needs to be practical. There is indelible ink marking process in place. Political party candidates and their agents have to be on the vigil to ensure there is no double voting. For better or worse, carry on with the elections when they are due. Probably nothing can be done at this juncture to do the cleaning up to the satisfaction of all parties.

    In the meantime public and NGOs should pressurise both BN and PR to give an undertaking before the GE is held, that they would give priority to reforming the electoral roll to an authentic one if and when they form the next government.

  11. “The EC is just pretending to be neutral and inderpendent but this is just for show and for the benefit of the international community. ” -bernard

    Huh? They are not even trying to pretend to be neutral or independent.

  12. It is this type of injustice, perceived or otherwise which has caused the chaos in the Arab world and many other parts of the world. But we cannot and must not leave this problem to the Almighty alone. The Almighty opens doors and gives his creations wisdom to think and do what is right is his sight. Therefore we must do what is right and not sit back and wait for D day. So have faith, let’s do our part then let the Almighty decide. God bless all Malaysians.

  13. BN’s election fraud:

    In the 12th GE 2008, Pakatan Rakyat won Selangor, since 2008, the Selangor electoral rolls have ballooned by 22% (over 340,000 voters) to more than 1.9 million, compared to a national average of 16.3 %.

    Up to 90 % cent of ballots cast through postal votes support BN!

    31,294 voters have been transferred out of their 2008 state & parliamentary constituencies without their consent, the incumbent CM of Selangor too.

    42,000 voters whose citizenship cannot be verified by the National Registration Dept still on the roll.
    The electoral rolls carry 65,543 voters who are 85 yrs of age and older; and 1000 voters aged more than 100 yrs.

    15,855 voters on the roll have NRIC numbers showing they are of a different gender from that listed by the EC.
    4500 voters who are spouses of police officers are registered as postal voters in breach of the law.
    Over 400,000 dubious voters are on the electoral roll, enough to swing 35 federal seats either way to capture Putrajaya!

    Gerrymandering in 55 yrs enables BN to win 51% of the seats in parliament with just 15.4% of the popular votes cast.

    Up to 1 million Malaysians residing overseas denied their right to vote by the EC.
    No scrutiny – Malaysia has refused access to international election watch groups after the 1990 general election!

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