Election Commission ( EC ) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had 3 days ago reminded political parties that only contesting parties were allowed to put up campaign paraphernalia.
"I am calling for cooperation from parties, which are not contesting, not to complicate things by going against the law. If these parties are not contesting, they are not paying any election deposit; why then should they put up their campaign materials?" he was reported to say.
DAP opposes such unnecessary and undemocratic restriction and urges EC to get its priorities right .
EC must be reminded that its most important role is to ensure an election or by election that is free , fair and clean. It must not complicate things or make things difficult for the opposition.
There are a few key issues which the EC must give priority to in the Bagan Pinang by election:-
1. ensure that the electoral roll is clean and without any phantom voter
2. ensure that candidates are allowed to campaign in army camps
3. ensure that fair media coverage is fair and honest
4. ensure that there is no abuse of government recourses and funds
EC's time and resources should therefore be spent on resolving the above issues rather than on imposing unnecessary restriction on trivial issues.
Let me ask the EC two basic questions:
1. Is it wrong for Kugan's relatives and friends who are unhappy with the Attorney General 's decision not to press murder charge against any cop to distribute leaflet at the by election?
2. Is it wrong for any NGO or interest group to use the by election as a platform to highlight their issues?
A free , fair and clean election or by election will include allowing the voters to gain as much information as possible on any issue so that they are able to make an informed decision. What is the issue , which group is highlighting the issue , what posters are being put up should not be matters which require the approval of the EC.
Hence, any political party or NGO or even individuals should be allowed to campaign in a by election or general election irrespective of whether they are contesting.
EC must always bear in mind of its constitutional responsibility to ensure free, fair and clean election .