28 April, 2010

Hulu Selangor by-election, neither free nor fair polls

The just-concluded Hulu Selangor by-election was far from being free and fair, a newly-formed election watch group alleged.

My Election Watch (MEW), a volunteer-based citizens organisation formed before the by-election, said while it had proceeded in orderly and peaceful manner there were numerous violations of election laws and anti-corruption laws.

Both sides contesting in the election - the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat - were guilty of violating the election rules, MEW pointed out in several incidents.

Infringements of universal principles of free and fair elections went unaddressed, the group further alleged.

MEW spokesman Liew Meng Seng said these shortcomings were observed at the pre-election period, on nomination day on April 17 as well as during the campaign period and polling day on April 25.

He said these were observed in the electoral rolls, media, election expenditures and the election administration.

These weaknesses, he added, overwhelmed the good effort put in by some of the election administrators, such as the police, which kept supporters apart outside polling centers.

"A strong will to reform the election operation and system, backed by popular support, is required to clean up the entire electoral system in Malaysia, if the by-election was any guide," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Hulu Selangor by-election has proven that racial politics is still very much alive. It is obvious that while the Malays and Indians had returned to support the BN, the Chinese had supported the opposition.

"I believe the Government knows why the Chinese fail to support BN despite the steps taken to downgrade the New Economic Policy and other policies deemed to be discriminatory towards the Chinese."

"On the other hand quite a substantial number of Malays also supported Pakatan."

"I am sure BN will study the results thoroughly. The result of the 13th General Election less than two years away will depend on the correct analysis and the corrective actions carried out before then."

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