|A bag of postal votes found in Tebobon |
river just after the 2008 elections
The first reason is the fact that the electoral roll is actually very dirty, soiled and polluted with a lot of creative handiworks of the BN.
And everybody knows this. Even the Election Commission admits it, or else why would it want to open its doors for talks with Bersih?
The proofs of the election system being manipulated are many, and election fraud and irregularities are general knowledge in Malaysia.
Secondly, the 8-point list of demands by Bersih is causing the BN leaders to tremble because the prospect of having a clean electoral roll, a reformed postal ballot system, use of indelible ink, a minimum of 21 days campaign period, a free and fair access to media, a strengthened public institutions, a stoppage of corruption and dirty politics would cause the BN to spin out of control.
BN knows it survives only through fraud and corruption.
How ironic that the BN is now caught in its own trap; all these years it had been talking about clean administration, honesty, noble qualities, transparent governance and so forth, and out of the blue the masses are demanding exactly that, and it gets frightening because they have been lying and it is now caught with its pants down.
BN knows it should be supporting Bersih, joining the rally in order to live up to its own claims. But no! The Bersih campaign is frightful because a clean and honest election system would spell the end of the BN rule.
It would sound the death knell of half a century of license to bleed the people.
For BN the stakes are too high, and the mere thought of Putrajaya going into the hands of the opposition is dreadfully unthinkable.
The BN is, therefore, now on a psywar, using every trick in the book to demonise Bersih, including the ridiculous tactic of planting communist materials to try give the movement a negative image. But how many people are buying the lie?
The BN is doing it because it knows it is running the high risk of losing support if it uses force because which leader can forget how much BN lost because of the way the government handled the peaceful Hindraf rally prior to the 2008 general election? And yet let us not discount the possibility of an Ops Lalang type of crackdown before July 9.
In the meantime, some ridiculous rationales are being shoved down our throats at the moment. Datuk Herbert Timbun Lagadan is asking the opposition assemblymen and parliamentarians to resign if the election in which they won were dirty.
Herbert’s logic is inverted, it should be the other way round! It is the BN reps who should resign because they won through cheating and manipulations!
The Deputy Prime Minister is saying if the elections were dirty how come the opposition managed to win so many more seats and PAS had managed to retain power in Kelantan for 21 years?
This is another nonsense which seems logical, but is actually a mental manipulation! The fact is, dear Tan Sri, the opposition won all those states IN SPITE OF THE CHEATING by the BN.
The fact is, the support for the opposition were so great in those areas that even excessive cheating and manipulations by BN couldn’t overcome the opposition votes!
Without the cheating, the opposition would have taken over Putrajaya since a long time ago! And this is what the BN is really frightened of.
How can the BN say that the country’s election process is clean and still keep a straight face, when we have so many instances of clear, daylight frauds even in the recent past? Have they forgotten about ballots boxes going astray? How about the ballot box for Bukit Bintang that turned out to be filled up with nothing but dry leaves?
Wikipedia reports that the allegedly subservient Election Commission had been involved in “gerrymandering, vote fraud, compliant media, misuse of government resources and massive vote buying [which] gave the National Front or Barisan Nasional an unfair advantage…. its electoral roll has been suspect, because of the discovery that it contains nearly 9,000 people aged more than 100.
This raised suspicions that the books are contaminated with dead voters which leaves the election vulnerable to fraud. Further discoveries of people who have been born in the same year possessing different identity cards (IC) and living in many different localities, were uncovered by Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel).
These people are registered to vote in various places throughout the country. These issues led to questions regarding the fairness of the elections.
It was also highlighted by the Opposition that certain postal voters were issued with two ballot sheets…. Activists from BERSIH say each ballot was also attached to a letter identifying the voter along with the voting slip serial number, so it would be easy to trace who voted for the opposition.
Electoral reform activists said that a number of seats that the opposition could win could be decided by postal votes and that those casting postal votes do not have the freedom to choose the candidate they want.
Human Rights Watch, which had been monitoring the election process, stated that government restraints on expression, assembly and access to state media would deny Malaysians a fair vote.
Calling the electoral process "grossly unfair", Human Rights Watch called on the government to address concerns with fraud in the electoral rolls, and to provide opposition parties access to state media.”
They have been cases of votes counted not tallying with the available votes. The case for the polling centre of Siong Tengah in Tamin is a perfect example.
The polling centre had 236 registered voters, and on counting, the BN candidate garnered 251 voters while the PKR candidate received 53, giving a total vote of 304, which was 68 more than the registered voters.
If it was true that there was a turnout of 73% of voters, as the Election Commissions announced, there should have only been 172 voters that day! This was a clear case in which phantom voters played a part and this is not an isolated case.
And note that the recent Sarawak state general election was considered the toughest ever for the BN because of only one thing – the sentiments against the BN was so strong that they BN was forced to spend a reported RM1.5 billion and during the election campaign the whole of Sarawak ran out of beer and stout!
The longhouse residents had merrymakings the likes of which they had never seen before, with free food and drinks – and cash.
The sad thing about the whole affair was that the RM10,000 cheques issued as enticement to the Penghulus bounced at the banks after the elections and were recollected!
During election campaigns we see a sudden rise in government project allocations and announcements, a slew of handouts in the forms of water tanks, zinc sheets, scholarships for students, hampers for the poor and senior citizens, etc. which are clear cases of political corruption.
There would be loads of buses of phantom voters from outside the district. There is also that famous trick of someone turning the electricity off during vote counting, and in the darkness, the vote-count trays are switched and the voting slips ‘automatically’ multiply like runaway virus. Or at the last minute another sack of ‘forgotten’ postal votes, which cannot be verified, are brought in!
It is unfortunate that many people have forgotten that in July 2008, a high-security bag containing a sizable number of voting slips was discovered near the Tebobon river in the constituency of Sepanggar. A similar case also happened in Tawau in 2004.
These were highlighted in the newspapers, and reported to the police, but until now nothing has been heard about them again. It’s no use resorting to the courts for remedy in cases of electoral injustices and abuse of electoral process because all know what the courts’ decisions will be.
And who doesn’t know about the intimidation and fear used in the campaigns, such as threatening parents about losing their children’s scholarships and jobs? And what clean elections are we talking about when the government has absolute monopoly of the people’s community halls (which should be for free use by every Malaysian), and the abuse of government machineries and vehicles? There has also been cases of armies arriving by the truckloads, or unnecessary roadblocks before or on polling day as ways to alarm the people into voting for the BN.
Fraud, manipulation, intimidation, vote buying, and all other sorts of criminal ways to win elections have been used by the BN.
It is high time for such a rally planned by Bersih to be held to express our frustration, especially for Sabah which has become a breeding ground for phantom voters in the form of illegal immigrants who were purposefully given the ICs to vote. So clean electoral rolls, clean election process? My foot!
DANIEL JOHN JAMBUN