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Archive for April, 2009

The proliferation of paramilitary forces (Rela, Natinal Service and now the Territorial Army) in the country is raising more concern by the days: it seems that what the ruling party can’t get by public debates it try to resort to an `organisation’ solution. But the effectiveness of such regimentation solution is open for all to see: BN parties claim memberships in the millions-yet they may not be able to see the same number of votes in some election contests! Certainly a significant section of these memberships on paper are suspect-with membership paid for by others. This preference for the `organisation’ solution shows that the ruling parties are not confident to win the debates in open forum-but can only do `brain washing’ in closed door sessions where the audience are put in some inferior positions and pressured against asking questions freely.

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The Opposition parties want to keep their `pondok panas'(information tent) on polling days. Reason: there are some `small number’ of voters who are influenced to change their votes at the last minutes! Then why don’t they consider the large number of voters who feel harassed by the polling day campaigning by the parties-which unfailingly flared up into visible tension and even violence at almost every election? Do they want to pay the high policing costs? Look like the Opposition parties do need to work out their own contradictory stand on this hot topic of giving back the respect to voters to cast their votes in an unpressured environment!
Ong BK

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th_batangai280309088

With the by-election confirmed the election observation mission is also confirmed-so don’t wait to register with Mafrel to be the observers for this interesting by-election! This possibly BN-free by-election may show case the election of the future when the unfair election practices are done away with! Reasons for becoming an observer:
* undertstand how an election is organised-see the current weaknesses;
* take action to help correct the situation-documenting the weaknesses is a 1st step; Get to know what are the current weaknesses;
* Understand the roles and gauge the performance of various stakes holders: election administrators9SPR, PDRM, MACC, Local Authorities, Ministry of Information etc), political parties, voters, media etc; What would and should you do if you are in their position?
*Know your rights as a voter-also how they have been trampled upon! Learn how to reclaim your right as a voter!
*Meet others who share this interests to make this country great as a democratic nation! Together much can be achieved!

What can you get?

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Dr Mansor Osman, PKR

Dr Mansor Osman, PKR

`Kak Minah', Penang's Ex-PKR women chief

`Kak Minah', Penang's Ex-PKR women chief

The by-election won’t be a `bye, election’: While BN is likely to announced its withdrawal from the election(1st in 50 years!) there are a number of candidates who has shown interests:

1. PKR : Dr Mansur Osman, ex-USM lecturer and ex-PKR Penang Chief; He was replaced as a Senator candidate for Penang-thus confirming his candidature;

Update: Mansur has been announced as PKR’s official candidate just now by PKR’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim at Yayasan Aman around 11.00pm. About 1000 supporters/on lookers were reportedly around;

2. Aminah -ex-PKR Penang Women Chief, who left with Ezam;

As to the 3rd candidate we reported earlier from PRM, PRM’s Penang Chief Gary Nair just told Mafrel that it was just a `publicity stunt’! (Exclusive news!)

There may be other candidates-so keep your eyes open.

Anyway the election minus BN could be interesting to showcase the post-BN electoral democracy! Let’s see if there could be improvement in terms of democratic conducts:
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penanti

So it is confirmed:

Penanti poll: May 31st Nomination: May 23rd
Campaign period: 8 days

The timelining shows a EC which is trying to push back polling as far as possible(it has 60 days for monouvre )-as though to buy time for a party which may involve in the by-election), in contrast to previous practice to finish off the duty ASAP. Then the campaign period is kept to the shortest -so the police will ge given an excuse to forcibly crack down on Federal Opposition parties’ campaign activities.

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Already a couple of potential candidates have declared their interests to contest the Penanti by-election in case UMNO pull out: a former PKR Penang women chief (Aminah), and PRM-the party left from the PRM-PKR amalgamation. And who knows if there are some local UMNO proxies who may want to try their luck.That will disappoint Anwar/PKR who openly ask for a walk-over, as though the voice of the people can be taken for granted!

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Barring unforeseen circumstances on Monday the observation of Penanti by-election is coming up! With a small voters population at 15 000, there are only 10 polling centres/schools to be observed. It would be seemingly an easy task-especially considering that there were about 200 observers at the Permatang Pauh by-election(incorporating 3 state constituencies-including Penanti, less than 1 year ago (August). There are however a number of possiblities of approach to the observation mission which can make it quite exciting:

1. Since there is little obstacle to fill up all the vacancies of observers for the 10 polling centres (2 each observers mean only 20 observers needed inside, then 2 each outside mean another 20 observers needed outside, making a total of 40 observers needed) the target could be to convert -for the first time, as many as possible the expected `election tourists’ into trained election observers! We can even have teach-in sessions for these potential eyes and ears of Mafrel so that the entire visiting crowd become our voluntary observers squad! This will be a challenge for Mafrel! So anyone interested to book a place for the training please email us.

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