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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Disgraceful start! Bersih condemns nomination day incidents


GE14 | Electoral watchdog Bersih has condemned three cases of alleged abuse of power by the Election Commission (EC) on nomination day yesterday.
Bersih claimed these cases have compromised the integrity of the 14th general election from the word go.
The movement's acting chairperson Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari said the violations of the principles of clean and fair elections were a "disgraceful start" to GE14.
"These attempts to compromise GE14 by denying the rights of candidates to contest fairly in the election is also an assault on democracy and an insult to the right to vote.
"The respective returning officers, EC, police and the two officials from the National Registration Department must answer for their role in subverting clean, free and fair elections to 14 million voters in Malaysia," he told a press conference in Petaling Jaya.
Also present were PKR vice-president Tian Chua and PKR's Dr S Streram, who was supposed to contest the Ranau state seat in Negeri Sembilan against caretaker menteri besar Mohamad Hassan.
Bersih earlier highlighted Tian Chua's disqualification for the Batu parliament seat in Kuala Lumpur and Streram's claims that he was prevented from filing his nomination papers, which resulted in Mohamad Hassan retaining the seat uncontested.
Bersih also raised concerns over the lack of transparency in the nominations process for the Ketari state seat in Pahang where PKR candidates were purportedly prevented from checking the MyKad of Gerakan candidate Lau Hoi Keong.
"If it is true that the address of the candidate has been changed on the electronic chip, this can be easily verified by displaying the information to the media and other stakeholders present at the nomination centre," said Shahrul.
He was referring to the claims that Lau's MyKad has a Kuala Lumpur address and as such disqualified him from contesting in a Pahang state seat.
News reports have quoted Lau as explaining that he has changed his address, and this is reflected on the MyKad's chip.
Both Tian Chua and Streram, meanwhile, reiterated their stand that the EC had acted unfairly to prevent them from being fielded as GE14 candidates.
Tian Chua maintained that the courts have at several stages decided that an RM2,000 fine would not be a reason for disqualification.
"I think we are all law abiding citizens. If the court already made a ruling then there should be no issue about disqualification.
"If the court did not make a ruling, such questions can be raised," he said when asked if PKR's leaders had discussed the possibility that his RM2,000 fine for the offence of insulting the modesty of a police officer would disqualify him from contesting.
Streram, on the other hand, claimed he was unaware of the need to have a special EC pass to enter the nominations centre.
Bersih executive director Yap Swee Seng claimed that the EC and its appointed returning officers had acted arbitrarily and in bad faith against the candidates.
"There is too much power vested in the returning officers and they have exercised this power arbitrarily and without any accountability," he stressed.
Yap said this was because Bersih also received information there was a similar situation where a candidate did not have an EC pass but was allowed in to file the nomination papers. - Mkini

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