At the votes tabulation centre, and when PAS’ victrory was ascertained PAS president Hadi Awang congratulated EC/SPR for a job well done-does it means that all PAS’ complaints of phantom voters, votes buying, abuses of government resources, intimidating police concentration, bias media, faulty voters’ list, lack of independence of EC/SPR, have thus been forgiven?
When these perenial complaints are sidelined after an election victory it allows the EC/SPR to claim that all the previous complaints about the issues have all along been political gimmicks! Indeed a previous statement by PAS expressing satisfaction over the election process had been seized upon by the EC/SPR to vindicate its weak handling of the election operation.
In fact the PAS president could take the opportunity to make a point that if not for those unfree and unfair elements PAS candidate could have done much better!
By continuing to highlight those issues PAS could have done a good service to the movement for free and fair elections -as that would pile pressure on the new EC/SPR leadership to embark upon some significant changes at the fundamental levels eg insisting on the independence of the EC/SPR!
PAS and other Opposition parties may regret the persistence of unfree and unfair practices when the unfree and unfair operations are used to defeat the Opposition candidates in the future!
Ultimately it is not the political parties who are entirely responsible upon higher standards for the country’s electoral integrity. It is the civil society, the election observers etc who should keep an eye on the electoral practices-including the positions of the political parties, irrespective of who win in the elections from time to time.
UPDATE: PAS not confident of EC’s ablity
January 08, 2009 17:17 PM
Pas Still Not Convinced With EC’s Ability
KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 8 (Bernama) — Pas still has doubts with the Election Commission (EC)’s ability in ensuring a clean and transparent by-election on Jan 17 though it admits that everything has gone well so far.
“We are not fully convinced yet that the running of the polls will be clean,” said the party’s commissioner in Terengganu, Datuk Mustafa Ali, to a press conference at its education camp here, Thursday.
“Since the nomination day, I admit things have gone smoothly so far. It is just that on the polling day, the most intense day, we hope the EC will do its job properly. The do’s and the don’ts need to be adheered to strictly,” he said.
Pas, he said, was also concerned over the 6,000 police personnel including from the special branch deployed in state during the by-election campaign for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat.
“It is their duty to search for news and secrets. Usually, they are in disguise. I am not sure what is the true purpose but based on past experience, some of their actions were to provoke people and these provocations can lead to something bad,” he said.
Mustapa said the presence of many police personnel was not well received by some local residents and created fear of security problems “but I have explained to them the police are here to do their job”.
“I just hope the police are not seen as trying to intimidate the voters,” he said.