The Hulu Selangor by-election is shaping up to be interesting in that : for 1st time the abuse of government machinery(personnel, vehicles, buildings etc) provoked a royal rebuke! Sultan of Selangor has asked the civil servants to be `professional’ in discharging their duties and not engage in party campaigns. This may be a rebuke to the 2 sides -one abuse federal ministries to campaign, while the other abuse state government machinery. This come right after the Selangor CM Khalid Ibrahim claim that his party is merely following the precedence set by the former BN state government-in clear contrast to his party national election director Fuziah Salleh’s statement earlier that the party will refrain from abusing govt machinery for campaign purpose. She won a commmendation from this web site(see earlier post). Can this become a campaign issue? She declined to comment when issue of Selangor state govt moving the state govt to Hulu Selangor District office surface.
The challenge is on: how to make the Hulu Selangor by-election a productive competition for good policies-as suggested in an article below? Unfortunately what we heard are ways to overtly or covertly abuse government machinery to win votes-and the parties are not letting this illegal and repugnant practice go. So what can voters and civil society do to push the election culture to one where policies competitions will become the main way to win elections? Suggestions: rebuke the negative campaigning eg boycot all government functions during elections. Take leave to avoid even government mandated functions eg teachers gathering(BN) or city council staff briefing (PR). More pro-actively: ask the parties to answer policies questions which the chosen MP will vote in Parliament eg what is your stand on ISA? Would you declare your assets after nomination? Would you support local government elections? etc etc. if the candidate run away from these questions then don’t vote for him/her. Simple: have fun! Voters are the boss before polling-enjoy it!
Mafrel has admitted its failure to submit the reports for all 9 by-elections, according to the president Syed Ibrahim. Previous reports that it has submitted reports of the triple by-elections-which was carried in some media, including this blog, apparently is wrong. We apologise for any inconveniences. We understand that reports for 6 by-elections had already been submitted to the Mafrel HQ-but for unknown reasons the reports were not submitted to the EC/SPR, despite assurances to the Northern Region that the reports should have been submitted months ago. Unfinished reports are: Kuala Terengganu, Permatang Pasir and Bagan Pinang. Mafrel’s HQ management committee is meeting tonite-not last night as reported earlier. More reports should be forthcoming. Mafrel HQ has started a new blog since last month here.
Sibu MP Robert Lau passed away-paving the way for another by-election -the 11th since Mar 8th 2008. The election is a good test of temperature on the ground ahead of the State Election due by end of the year. Robert Lau of SPP won in last general election against DAP’s chief Wong Ho Lean by drastically reduced majority. So all possibilities are open now-especially DAP has been tipped to do well in coming elections at SUPP’s expense.
According to Mafrel’s president Syed Ibrahim 3 reports has been sent to SPR ie the triple by-elections reports for Bkt Selambau, Bkt Gantang and Batang Ai had been sent to SPR. So the SPR’s claim that there had not been 1 report sent to them is but a lie!
The EC has dropped a bombshell for Hulu Selangor by-election by stopping accreditation to an election observer, Mafrel. But what is there in such a accreditation? On the face of it it allows the observer group entry into the polling centre for observation. And that is about it that it entitle the observer group to do. Mafrel has become the only observer groups in Malaysia-it has been given this status since 2007(Machap by-election). Now -not many people knows this:what does it takes away as conditions?
Actually there are 20 restrictions imposed on accredited election observer by EC. Among them: observer cannot even enter the polling station/class room where polling takes place. They can only peep from the window-if the window is open! So they can only position themselves within the 50m limit around the polling stations and the polling station itself! The names and photos of the observers, if they follow the restriction, will be posted at each polling centre to enable police to stop observers from trying to gain entry into the polling stations….!!!(Actually they never did this)
The bad news for Mafrel continues: EC has acted as though on cue from a BN Campaign Director, to suspend its recognition of Mafrel from the Ulu Selangor by-election. What has they to hide by not giving recognition to election observers in conducting their election observation? In fact almost all other election administrators around the region allow -not 1, but all bona fide election observers to keep watch over the elections they administer as a way to improve the credibility of their work. But in Malaysia…???
Mafrel will continue to observe the election without accreditation-as it had done before at the beginning of its formation in 2003. Leaders from Northern region are responding by calling for quick action from Mafrel HQ. President Syed Ibrahim said he will call an emergency meeting tomorrow evening.
KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — The Election Commission (EC) has dropped the local election watchdog, Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel), as official election monitors in the Hulu Selangor by-election as it has not sent reports for the previous nine by-elections since Election 2008.