Bangladesh may appear as a nation of the poor but their wealth in democratic traditions and practices could put Malaysia to shame! Here are some of the superiority of the Bangla system which Malaysia can do well to learn:
* The Election Commission is the apex body running the election-with all government departments made obligatory to give cooperation during the conduct of an election; in contrast the Malaysian EC is only one of the bodies administering elections -with major responsiblties given away to other agencies eg corruption -to MACC; crimes-to Police; media-to Minister of Information; public venues’ hire-to local governments etc
*The EC, media, judges and the civil servants are much more neutral than the Malaysian counterparts;
*Bangladesh’s electoral rolls have coloured picture of the voters face printed along their other details-this is the 2nd country in the world to do this-apart from the Philippines; Malaysia potentially have such a voters roll if we use the National Registration Department’s registry as the voters roll-but why is the EC insist on using a poorly compiled voters rolls?
* Bangladesh use the indelible ink as part of their arsenal against multiple voting-Malaysia?
* Bangladesh announce their election results promptly; Malaysia can withhold opposition victories for days and weeks-as had happened to Razaleigh’s victory!
* Bangladesh used half a year to re-register its 81mil voters -and in the process cut off 12mil voters who were registered more than once; Malaysia only has 11mil voters-but can’t clean up the rolls;
*Bangladesh’s law require the elections to be conducted by neutral caretaker government; Malaysia’s government run the elections by abusing government facilities and resources as though the government belong to them!
* Bangladesh EC require declaration of assets and criminal records by candidates; Malaysia’s politicians refuse to declare their assets even after they go to the very top!
Sure the Bangladesh system has its drawbacks -but we should learn from its strengths-not its weaknesses.
The above information was obtained from my election observation to Bangladesh from Nov 2008 to Jan 2009.