Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Without iron-clad assurances of meaningful electoral reforms in time for 13GE, a PSC is neither useful nor acceptable

Without iron-clad assurances of meaningful electoral reforms in time for 13GE, a PSC is neither useful nor acceptable

-Lim Kit Siang
August 17, 2011

In less than 24 hours, the country appears to be back to square one on electoral reforms despite the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement of a parliamentary select committee.

Firstly, the swift contradiction by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin that there is any real problem with the electoral system and that only some minor tweaks are required.

In one swift blow, Muhyiddin has vindicated the wariness, doubts and reservations in the responses to Najib’s announcement of a parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms whether it is a sincere and genuine effort to address electoral flaws and defects to ensure free, fair and clean elections or merely a diversionary tactic and stone-walling operation.

Secondly, the time-line spelt out by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz making clear that the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms could well be an academic exercise if Parliament is dissolved before it could complete its report and its recommendations accepted and implemented as part of the electoral laws of the land.

Without iron-clad assurances of meaningful electoral reforms in time for 13th general elections, the proposal of a parliamentary select committee is neither useful nor acceptable.

When announcing the parliamentary select committee, Najib said that “when the next general election is held, there will be no suspicion of manipulation”.

If this is the case, then the Prime Minister must give a categorical assurance that there would be meaningful electoral reforms when the next general elections are held.

This is all the more imperative in view of his irresponsible language of “crushed bodies, lives lost” at the UMNO General Assembly last year calling on Umno to defend power at any cost in Putrajaya and his equally irresponsible speech earlier this year to UMNO to recapture Selangor “at all costs”.

With or without a parliamentary select committee, there are electoral flaws and defects that cannot wait – like the cleaning up of the electoral rolls, efficient registration of eligible voters, registering overseas Malaysians as voters and stopping the treasonous activities of registering foreigners as voters.

If the proposal of parliamentary select committee is not meant as a diversionary tactics – and there is not going to be any emergency Parliament to immediately set up the committee – there should be an immediate high-level meeting involving all the stakeholders including Bersih 2.0 to agree on the minimal areas where immediate action must be taken to address and resolve serious allegations of major electoral flaws and defects.

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