MEDIA STATEMENT (29 APRIL 2018): Nomination Day A Disgraceful Start to the 14th General Elections

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 The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) condemns the manipulation and abuse of power by the Election Commission (EC) on Nomination Day (yesterday, 28 April 2018) in several seats that compromised the integrity of the 14th General Elections right from the beginning. It is a disgraceful start to the 14th General Election where candidates are denied their constitutional rights to be nominated and voters denied their right to choices of candidates arbitrarily and unlawfully by the EC.

There are 3 key cases among the list of issues on nomination day that BERSIH 2.0 finds to be in violation of clean and fair elections:

  • The disqualification of Batu Candidate, Tian Chua (PKR – PH)

The Election Commission has clearly overstepped its boundaries in arbitrarily rejecting Tian Chua’s nomination, especially since Tian’s candidacy was accepted in the last General Elections after the issue of the RM2,000 penalty had been clarified in a Kuala Lumpur High Court judgement in 2010, where the presiding judge Haji Ghazali bin Haji Cha ruled that the RM2000 fine to disqualify a member of parliament in Section 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution shall be RM2001 or above. This judgment was respected by the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat Pandikar Amin when he ruled Tian Chua maintained as member of parliament. The Election Commission was silence at that time. On what legal basis and authority that the Returning Officer of Batu, Anwar Mohd Zain could overturn a court judgment? The arbitrary decision of the Returning Officer and the Election Commission is clearly not in accordance with the law and is done in bad faith. The absolute power of the RO in deciding the acceptance of candidacy must be reviewed.

 

  • Denying entry to Rantau Candidate, Dr. S. Streram (PKR – PH) into the Nomination Centre

Amino Agus Suyub (Returning Officer, Rantau), the EC and the police should not have denied the candidate entry on account that he failed to produce a pass issued by the EC, as the constitutional right to nomination of citizen should be upheld over any technical formalities. This is especially significant given that the pass is not a requirement by law but rather an administrative procedure by the EC.

BERSIH 2.0 also finds that the insistence for a pass is not necessarily practiced consistently as Kuala Kubu Baru incumbent, Lee Kee Hiong was able to enter the nomination centre despite not possessing a pass.

Amino Agus Suyub (Returning Officer, Rantau), the EC and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) must answer for the double standard applied in this case. IGP Mohamad Fuzi Harun denied the role of police in stopping the candidate from entering the nomination when videos that recorded the incident clearly show the police played a part in it. With the IGP’s assertion that the police acted to help the EC, the Returning Office for DUN Rantau and the EC must now answer on what legal basis that Dr. S Streram was barred from entering the nomination center.

 

  • Lack of Transparency and Due Process in regards to the nomination of Ketari Candidate, Datuk Lau Hoi Keong (Gerakan – BN)

Bentong District Officer-cum-Returning Officer Datuk Azhar Arshad must answer for the lack of transparency and due process in regards to the Identity Card (IC) of BN candidate, Datuk Lau Hoi Keong. Datuk Azhar is accountable not only to the EC but to the people and voters of the country when it comes to transparency and clean elections. Why did the he disallow the other party candidates to check the IC of Datuk Lau Hoi Keong? If it is true that the address of the candidate has been changed on the electronic chip, this can be easily verified by displaying the information to the media and other stakeholders present at the nomination centre.

 

These attempts to compromise GE14 by denying the right of candidates to contest fairly in the elections is also an assault on democracy and an insult to the right to vote. The respective Returning Officers, the EC, the police and the two officials from the NRD must answer for their role in subverting clean, free and fair elections to 14 million voters in Malaysia.

The three cases highlight that the nomination process for elections in the country should be thoroughly reformed. The nomination procedures should protect the constitutional rights of citizen to run in election and such important rights shall not be trumped by arbitrary decision of Returning Officer or the EC at their whims and fancy on petty technical grounds.

BERSIH 2.0 calls on all stakeholders including the political parties, candidates, civil society and voters to make a stand for clean and fair elections by reporting incidents of electoral fraud and cheating to aduan.pemantau.org OR whatsapp us at 011-17721546 OR call us at 017-8725418/ 017-8725419.
KELUAR MENGUNDI, KALAHKAN PENCURI.

Issued by:
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee

 

Attachments (Click to view)


 Detailed acounts of the three cases compiled from various reports

CANDIDATE DETAILS

Tian Chua (PKR – PH)

BERSIH 2.0 finds the Election Commission (EC’s) rejection of Tian Chua’s nominations on account of paying a court fine of RM2,000 earlier this year, citing Article 48 of the Federal Constitution. This article states that an elected representative is disqualified if he is sentenced to more than 12 months’ jail or fined more than RM2,000. However, the Judge who presided over the case made it clear that this fine will not bar him from carrying out his duties as an elected member of parliament.

 

The Election Commission has clearly overstepped its boundaries in arbitrarily rejecting Tian Chua’s nomination. Clearly, paying a fine of RM2,000 is not the same as ‘more than RM2,000’ as stated in the constitution. Additionally, the Judge who presided over the case explicitly mentioned that the fine was reduced to RM2,000 for the sole reason of ensuring that his conviction is not in violation of Article 48 of the constitution.

Datuk Lau Hoi Keong (Gerakan – BN)

 

BERSIH 2.0 finds that the Election Commission acted with bias in regards to the nomination of Datuk Lau Hoi Keong, when his nomination was accepted despite his Identity Card (IC) stating that his address in Kuala Lumpur.

 

Demands by representatives of the opposition that the BN candidate produce his IC as proof of his eligibility to contest in the elections was ignored when this information was received around 10.30am. Two suspicious individuals without identification tags who later identified themselves as officers from the National Registration Department, announced that although the identity card does not reflect an address in Pahang, Datuk Lau Hoi Keong had applied for the transfer in his address. A slip of paper – allegedly a temporary IC slip – was produced, folded and kept without once showing it those present on the grounds that the slip is now property of the Election Commission.

 

The lack of transparency in this case is highly suspicious and does not bode well in terms of strengthening the integrity of the Election Commission.

 

Prevention of  Rantau Candidate, Dr. S. Streram from entering the Nomination Centre (PKR – PH)

BERSIH 2.0 finds that the police had unfairly denied Dr. S. Streram entry to the nomination centre. Inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun stated that his police force acted upon the instructions of the Election Commission when they barred Dr. S. Streram from entry upon his failure to produce a pass issued by the Election Commission.

Dr. S. Streram was eventually allowed to submit his nomination papers through the hands of an intermediary but was rejected on the grounds that his application was received 3 minutes pass the dateline, at 10.03am.

According to the candidate, he only heard from a fellow PKR candidate that he was supposed to have a pass at 5pm on Friday, 27 April 2018; and when he had arrived to collect the pass at 6.45pm, the office had already been closed and he was told that he could obtain the pass in the morning on nomination day.