In a press release by PKR sent to MAFREL’s Operation centre the party insist on their `rights’ to campaign on polling day-despite this being an exception in polling practices in most countries. The statement(appended below) did not address, apart from their `rights’, glaring issues such as respect for voters’ rights to vote without any harassment/ pressures by campaigners on polling day, their independent opponents who are not in any position to `enjoy’ such rights as ferrying voters with 100 vehicles, setting up voters checking booths etc. A party leader was even reported to provide this as a good reason for putting up party logos on their cars for ferrying voters: otherwise voters cannot identify the vehicles! Obviously partisanship had blocked this mind from conceiving non-partisan way of identifying vehicles for this purpose! They also did not consider the legal limit to election campaigning expenses, and the whole idea of running a campaign which is free and fair to other candidates and voters. While the statement is right to criticise the EC for inconsistencies and arbitrary rules, there are also issues which applicants to public offices should address to attract respect to their candidature. Have a read yourself-your comments are welcome!
For immediate release
Elections Commission Flip-Flop at Eleventh Hour
PENANTI, May 30 – At a press conference today, the Elections Director of Party Keadilan Rakyat (KEADILAN), Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, stated that the Elections Commission (EC) has given verbal directives at the eleventh hour that contradict the terms agreed to in a meeting with the EC Chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, and representatives from Pakatan Rakyat (PAKATAN) on May 12, 2009.
Saifuddin said that the EC has directed that the size of the booths to be set up near polling centres by parties contesting in the by-election be limited to eight by eight feet. No such specifications were mentioned in the May 12 meeting. Also, the EC officer informed Saifuddin that the desks to be placed at such booths must not be larger than the footprint of a computer, another new stipulation.
According to Saifuddin, the EC also flip-flopped on an earlier decision to provide 100 car stickers to each candidate for vehicles assigned to transport voters to the polling centres. He said, “the EC decided at the last minute not to issue the 100 car stickers and also prohibited party flags or logos on vehicles to be used on polling day. How are we to change our preparations at this late stage?”
Saifuddin has indicated that KEADILAN will proceed as usual on polling day to assist voters, and he also called on Penanti voters to vote early to avoid any complications that may arise due to the EC’s last minute changes.
In a separate statement by the Communications Director of the Party, Jonson Chong commented that “whilst we welcome positive changes or reform to the elections process by the EC, we are deeply disappointed by the latest changes in the Penanti by-election, which not only contradict what was decided earlier but they also seem to be biased against our Party.”
Chong questioned whether the EC is independent and fair or if they are being manipulated by quarters that are afraid KEADILAN and PAKATAN will win by an even bigger majority in this by-election.