Ahh.. I was watching The Effing Show just now and was reminded of an embarrassing interview by Al Jazeera with our former Minister of Information not so long ago. Seriously, how could I have forgotten about that interview. I mean, that infamous interview only managed to make Malaysia looked like a nincompoop! Maybe I blocked that memory. That's it, I've blocked, that's why I've forgotten about it.
Do you still remember that interview? If you haven't seen it, click on the video below. As the former minister vehemently denied that the government was cracking down on a peaceful protest, the reporter professionally told him that she was watching a live stream of protesters being sprayed by chemical. He said he's watching the live stream too and insisted that the government response was not violent. *triple facepalm* LOL. As if embarrassing himself was not enough, he also "insulted" Pakistan and Myanmar by insinuating that only the government of these countries treat their citizens badly.
Anyway, as we know it, the Rakyat punished this guy in 2008 and he's no longer holding that office.
Meanwhile, I really don't understand why our government and the Election Commission are unable to accede to Bersih's demands? I mean, it's a non starter. Any reasonable person would gladly agree to the demands. Look at the demands made I've reproduced here. Anything sinister about them? You know, as long as you don't accede to their demands, they won't stop talking about it. They will gnaw and gnaw and gnaw on the issue like a dog gnawing on a bone. The quickest way for you to shut them up is to give them what they want. It's not like they are asking you to murder people or put people into jail without trial!
1. Clean the electoral rollThe electoral roll is marred with irregularities such as deceased persons and multiple persons registered under a single address or non-existent addresses. The electoral roll must be revised and updated to wipe out these ‘phantom voters’. The rakyat have a right to an electoral roll that is an accurate reflection of the voting population.
In the longer term, BERSIH 2.0 also calls for the EC to implement an automated voter registration system upon eligibility to reduce irregularities.
2. Reform postal ballotThe current postal ballot system must be reformed to ensure that all citizens of Malaysia are able to exercise their right to vote. Postal ballot should not only be open for all Malaysian citizens living abroad, but also for those within the country who cannot be physically present in their voting constituency on polling day. Police, military and civil servants too must vote normally like other voters if not on duty on polling day.
The postal ballot system must be transparent. Party agents should be allowed to monitor the entire process of postal voting.
3. Use of indelible inkIndelible ink must be used in all elections. It is a simple, affordable and effective solution in preventing voter fraud. In 2007, the EC decided to implement the use of indelible ink. However, in the final days leading up to the 12th General Elections, the EC decided to withdraw the use of indelible ink citing legal reasons and rumours of sabotage.
BERSIH 2.0 demands for indelible ink to be used for all the upcoming elections. Failure to do so will lead to the inevitable conclusion that there is an intention to allow voter fraud.
4. Minimum 21 days campaign periodThe EC should stipulate a campaign period of not less than 21 days. A longer campaign period would allow voters more time to gather information and deliberate on their choices. It will also allow candidates more time to disseminate information to rural areas. The first national elections in 1955 under the British Colonial Government had a campaign period of 42 days but the campaign period for 12th GE in 2008 was a mere 8 days.
5. Free and fair access to mediaIt is no secret that the Malaysian mainstream media fails to practice proportionate, fair and objective reporting for political parties of all divide. BERSIH 2.0 calls on the EC to press for all media agencies, especially state-funded media agencies such as Radio and Television Malaysia (RTM) and Bernama to allocate proportionate and objective coverage for all potlical parties.
6. Strengthen public institutionsPublic institutions must act independently and impartially in upholding the rule of law and democracy. Public institutions such as the Judiciary, Attorney-General, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC), Police and the EC must be reformed to act independently, uphold laws and protect human rights.
In particular, the EC must perform its constitutional duty to act independently and impartially so as to enjoy public confidence. The EC cannot continue to claim that they have no power to act, as the law provides for sufficient powers to institute a credible electoral system.
7. Stop corruptionCorruption is a disease that has infected every aspect of Malaysian life. BERSIH 2.0 and the rakyat demand for an end to all forms of corruption. Current efforts to eradicate corruption are mere tokens to appease public grouses. We demand that serious action is taken against ALL allegations of corruption, including vote buying.
8. Stop dirty politicsMalaysians are tired of dirty politics that has been the main feature of the Malaysian political arena. We demand for all political parties and politicians to put an end to gutter politics. As citizens and voters, we are not interested in gutter politics; we are interested in policies that affect the nation.