The agenda for the meeting is not just about the delineation processes, says Bersih 2.0. It has a string of other much-needed reforms.
Bersih 2.0 takes note of Electoral Commission’ comment that the old boundaries may be used in the coming elections.
However, may we remind the commission that there are also issues of malapportionment and gerrymandering in the old/present boundaries which resulted in unfair advantages for certain political parties in the last elections.
Genuine and fair political representation in our election system is long overdue, and the commission should instead use this opportunity to correct the boundaries, using a clean and accurate electoral roll.
The Electoral Commission has used the ongoing court cases as an excuse to not meet Bersih 2.0. The court cases are a manifestation of the misdemeanours carried out by the commission, and they, unfortunately, can only be fixed through court action. The court cases cannot and must not be an excuse to not meet.
Additionally, he also mentioned that he will not meet Bersih 2.0 because we are not registered as an NGO. We respond by reminding the commission that in 2012, the court has affirmed that Bersih 2.0 is an legal entity consisting of endorsing NGOs.
Bersih 2.0 is still willing to hold a meeting with the Electoral Commission. The agenda for the meeting is not just about the delineation processes. We are of the view that if the commission wants to run free and fair elections in the coming general election, immediate reforms need to take place.
We have listed in our memorandum to the Electoral Commission the following reforms:
- Strengthen the independence of the Electoral Commission
- End political corruption
- Establish automatic voter registration
- Clean up the electoral rolls
- Reform absentee voting
- Faciliate election observation
- Ensure fair election boundaries
- Allow a minimum 21-day campaign period
- Ensure free and fair access to the media
If committed, the Electoral Commission can work with the relevant stakeholders, including NGOs, government agencies, Parliament and the media, to implement these reforms in the next six months.
It is therefore urgent for Bersih 2.0 to meet with the commission if they are still concerned about ensuring a fair election and improving the present poor public confidence in it. Bersih 2.0 is ready to meet the commission anytime, any day.
Bersih 2.0 would also like to take this opportunity to thank our lawyers and volunteers who came forward. They have pushed the boundaries and exposed the illegal delineation that has taken place. We will continue with our work to raise the issue of unfair delineation, even if it means more court cases.
Bersih 2.0 steering committee members