Monday, August 22, 2011

Prime Minister must prove his sincerity and commitment to true electoral reforms

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Never before has there ever been so much speculation about possible election date compared to the next general election.

Two weeks ago, the speculation was that the prime minister may call a snap poll after Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, with November 11 being the likely polling day.

Now, with the announcement of the formation of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms, there is new speculation that Dato Sri Najib will not dissolve Parliament this year.

The government’s decision to set up the PSC is a victory for the Bersih 2 .0 Rally. There is no doubt that the Rally success has piled tremendous pressures on the government.

The key question now is whether the government is sincere and serious about wanting to introduce reforms and make the next general election free and fair.

The Prime Minister’s announcement that the next general election can be held without full electoral reforms having been implemented certainly does not show the government’s genuine commitment to electoral reforms and free fair elections.

Najib said that PSC has nothing to do with the general election. This is most ridiculous.

PSC is meaningless if its main task is not to propose electoral reforms in time for the next general election.

“Umno has always upheld the importance of parliamentary democracy. The credibility of our elections cannot be questioned and we have proved that there is no manipulation in votes and the electoral roll,” Najib stressed at yesterday’s press conference.

I have not known Najib to be fond of telling jokes at press conferences, but his statement has certainly shown that he can tell big jokes.

I believe that if a public survey is carried out on whether our general elections have been free and fair, the overwhelming response will be obvious.

Before thousands of people courageously participated in the Bersih 2.0 Rally held on July 9, BN leaders had argued that if the nation’s elections had not been fair, the Opposition would not have won any state government.

Let me tell the BN leaders that if there had been free and fair elections, not only BN would have lost its two thirds parliamentary majority long ago, there probably would have been a change of federal government.

Let me just talk about the issue of gerrymandering of electoral constituencies which favour BN.

If there was no gerrymandering, constituency maps will look compact, round in shapes. But some of the constituencies today look more like sotong or other funny shapes. Why?

This is the result when polling districts are removed or added not in accordance with fair and objective criteria.

Let me also tell the MCA and Gerakan leaders that if there was true practice of 1 man 1 vote principle in our electoral system, DAP would have won enough seats to govern Penang state after the 1990 general election.

Lim Kit Siang would have been the chief minister of Penang in 1990.

If Najib is serious and sincere of wanting to fight the Opposition fair and square as he has once declared, the first and minimum thing that he must ensure in setting up the PSC is to give a public guarantee that there must be true electoral reforms in time for the next general election

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