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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

‘Allow people to voice their views’

Sabah-based opposition SAPP is of the opinion that the demands by Bersih organizers are justified and their pro-active approach commendable.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has called on the government not to ‘stifle the voice of the rakyat’ and to allow to voice their support for free and fair elections.

Making this call SAPP’s Youth wing leader Edward Dagul said Bersih’s 8-point demands must be acknowledged and ‘respected’.

He said it is the constitutional right of every Malaysian to voice his or her opinion, irrespective of the political inclinations, likewise Bersih, a Kuala Lumpur-based coalition calling for free and fair elections.

“The eight demands by Bersih should be respected and supported and if the voice is unheard, then the natural tendency of grouping takes over.

“The voice of the rakyat in wanting a free and fair election should not be stifled,” he said.

Edward said that the image of a stronger, independent Election Commission (EC) would only help to boost Malaysia’s standing as a proponent of fair, transparent and just governance.

“The demands by Bersih are similar to the 8-point declaration by SAPP, especially that the government shall be of the people and based on good governance and civil society.

“It is common knowledge that the current electoral system is riddled with faults to the extent of being biased to the government.

“The political gerrymandering of boundaries over the years, as well as the much talked continued presence of phantom voters within the electoral list are but a few of such examples in Sabah.

“Therefore, the demands by the Bersih organizers are justified and their pro-active approach should be commended in making the country a more respected nation.

“Many have complained of the Election Commission bias and our own experiences in Batu Sapi as well as the recently concluded Sarawak state elections are testament to this.

“SAPP has made numerous reports of election offences and other irregularities with the Election Commission but unfortunately, till now, no action has been taken,” he said.

The Bersih steering committee had stressed that they are apolitical.

One of them, Haris Ibrahim was quoted as saying: “We say again and again, Bersih is not pro-Pakatan Rakyat … neither are we anti-Barisan Nasional. We are pro-reform.”

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