The EC met the political parties today SEPARATELY-a strategy which is not meant to win bipartisan support from the parties. EC should realise that the compliance of the election laws require agreement by all sides of the political divides-thus meeting the parties separately defeat the purpose. Thus their remark that parties did not comply with election laws should make them sit up to the fact that the EC is not held in high esteem by the parties-by both sides. BN only sent their petty officials while Pakatan sent only their 2nd/3rd liners. In commenting on the non-compliance of the election laws the EC chair also erred by not knocking the nail on the head: it is the ruling/incumbent parties who abuse the election laws most-and thus should be punished as severely as possible to make an example of how to pay respect for the election laws!
EC concern over ‘unhealthy’ campaigning
PETALING JAYA (April 23, 2009) : The Election Commission (EC) met with political parties today to address the “blatant and growing” disregard for election regulation, especially during the recent by-elections.
Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar
EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the meeting discussed many issues, including the “tense and unhealthy” atmosphere at polling centres.
“We are concerned with the campaigning and unhealthy atmosphere at polling centres on polling day,” he said, referring to the boisterous party supporters who gather at the centres.
“This is against the law as the regulations state that all campaigning should cease on the eve of polling day.
“These regulations have been ignored, leading to unnecessary tension at the polling centres, which may have deterred some voters from coming out to vote.”
He describe it as a “step backwards for democracy”.
Commenting on the Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections’ (Mafrel) suggestion for nominations to be held over an extended period of a few days instead of the present one day, Wan Ahmad said: “The EC has been discussing this matter also, and we know where Mafrel is coming from in terms of suggestions to defuse the tense situation on nomination day.
“However, to introduce this, we need to amend the law as the law now only allows nominations to be conducted within an hour, followed by one hour of objection period all within the same day.
“There are a number of suggestions, options and procedures that we can think of some of which have been implemented in other countries but we first have to study what is best and study the laws that need to be amended.”
Wan Ahmad said said the meeting with Barisan Nasional (BN) today morning, followed by another with opposition party leaders in the afternoon, was an “immediate measure to make political parties and political supporters respect the law”.
“To enforce the law, we need to first capture the understanding and cooperation of the parties, which can then relay the message to their supporters,” he said.
“We feel this is the right approach … to get the political parties to cooperate with the authorities in ceasing all campaigning on polling day, which is not allowed by the law.
He said the relevant authorities and the police need to enforce this law and need the cooperation from political parties to do so.
“When the party supporters behave in a peaceful and mature manner, it will also make the police job easier,” he said.
“Right now, a lot of money is spent for the police to maintain order during elections because if anything goes wrong, the blame will land on the police.”
In its initial report on the recent by-elections in Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang and Batang Ai, Mafrel raised several other issues, including the use of pubic facilities like town halls and government vehicles for campaigning.