The government is getting “smarter”. Having completely failed to suppress Bersih 2.0 by force, they are now trying to make Bersih 3.0 go away by ignoring it.
Indeed, a dependence on stealth and public apathy seems to becoming an increasingly standard modus operandi.
Last night, Parliament sat until some ungodly hour to rush through bills that the government didn’t one anyone to know about.
WTF kinda democracy is this??
Luckily, some people were paying attention. A good activist I know put together a list of alarming facts about amendments to the Election Offences Bill.
In summary, instead of moving towards Electoral Reform, the government has in fact enacted laws MAKING IT EASIER FOR THEM TO CHEAT!
People sometimes ask if we still need to rally for Electoral Reform. Well, I say to all Malaysians of conscience – read this, and see you at Dataran on the 28th.
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.