It is more serious than anything else done so far. By these amendments, they have removed every means of monitoring irregularities. We may as well call off the elections and allow UMNO to appoint MPs.
The full impact of today's amendment to the Election Offences Act
1. Anyone can now put up anonymous posters without identifying person or printer. Poison posters will now become standard fare. This is exactly the opposite of the demand to end dirty politics.
2. A candidate can only use a party office for the purpose of holding meetings, discussions, ceramahs etc. Candidates are not allowed to use homes, hire halls or set up temporary structures. Nothing is said about ministers and other privileged persons using public facilities.
3. The time when an Agent of a candidate is allowed into the Polling Station is no longer fixed and is now left to the discretion of the EC to decide when a Polling or Counting Agent will be allowed to enter. They are free to chase Agents out of the Polling Station while the results are being fixed.
4. The 50m exclusion zone outside the Polling Centre is now extended to 100m or more, depending on the EC to decide. This makes it impossible for election monitors such as Mafrel to see anything illegal going on. If some major irregularity is being planned, the EC can even set a limit of 2 Km or more.
5. There will be no more Barung Observers who were previously the only non-EC people able to look at the IC of the voter and catch discrepancies. This is a major blow to the plans to weed out phantom voters. They can now walk in freely and the Polling Agent (if he is even allowed into the Polling Station) will have no opportunity to look at the IC of the voter.
These amendments, that were introduced late and shafted through Parliament without any meaningful vote, make a mockery of our electoral process. To work with this kind of flawed process makes idiots out of all of us. A solution must be found.
But the only action that can have any impact must involve a huge number of Malaysians caring enough about the situation to want to take action.
The question is, do we care enough?
Or are we content to bury our heads in the sand and hope we can continue to cari makan while the nation gets screwed?