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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Be angry over fraud, but don't vent it at migrants


Be angry over fraud, but don't vent it at migrants
Electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 said while Malaysians have the right to feel strongly about revelations of electoral fraud including the use of non-citizens as voters, they should avoid any racist or xenophobic behaviour.
"Targeting migrants will not change problematic laws such as Section 9A of the Election Act 1958, which prevents anyone from challenging the electoral roll in court.
"Hate crimes against migrants will not compel the Election Commission into acting on numerous allegations, including the alleged high number of untraceable new voters in Selangor," said the coalition in a statement reacting to the unauthorised use of its logo on the internet alongside messages bordering on anti-migrant xenophobia.
The coalition pointed out that migrant workers in Malaysia already face violence and discrimination as exposed by human rights organisations.
It added that rights activists on migrant issues have warned of "xenophobic, racist attacks against migrants" following revelations that many foreigners had been issued Malaysian identity cards without going through proper procedures.
Testimonies at the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry into Sabah's migrants problem have unveiled a systematic campaign by the BN government to give citizenship to foreigners for the purpose of voting. Several parody videos produced by individuals angered by the revelations have found their way to YouTube and social media.
But Bersih said there has also been a demonisation of migrants in political ceramahs and leaflets.
"We remind everyone, however, that ultimately the responsibility for the situation lies with the Election Commission and other agencies empowered to take action against electoral fraud, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission," it added.
Urging the public not to be distracted by xenophobia against migrants, Bersih also called on political parties to take a strong stand against any attacks targeting foreigners.
-Harakahdaily

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