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Bersih offers to monitor ‘political violence’

 | April 18, 2013

Bersih is also concerned about the federal administration's continuous abuse of government resources for political campaigns.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih, a coalition of NGOs calling for free and fair elections, has offered to monitor police reports made by Malaysians on “political violence and electoral misconduct”.

Speaking to reporters here today, Bersih spokesperson Irene Fernandez invited Malaysians to forward copies of the police reports they had lodged on such matters for Bersih’s action.

“We are extremely disappointed with the police force.

“Instead of taking actions against violence and violations of law, they are resorting to scare tactics instead.

“We urge all Malaysians to report any incidents of political violence and electoral misconduct to the authorities immediately.

“A copy of police reports made can also be forwarded to Bersih 2.0 for our monitoring,” said Fernandez.

Fernandez was responding to complaints that the police were not reacting to the lodged reports on political violence and electoral misconduct and were instead harassing the opposition politicians and supporters.

She said Bersih wanted the police to act immediately on the numerous reports made in the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency by Nurul Izzah Anwar, who is a PKR incumbent MP.

She also called on police to probe the April 13 case where a PKR campaign workers was allegedly threatened with a machete and other incidences which included the burning of flags belonging to PAS and PKR as well as an act of arson on PAS’s polling centres (UPU) in Felda Nasarudin Perak.

Bersih, she said, wished to remind the police force to be neutral and ensure the safety of all Malaysians, including supporters and politicians of both sides.

She urged the police to emulate the Terengganu security forces who had swiftly apprehended four assailants who had slashed a campaign worker while he was putting up opposition flags in Kemaman last Friday.

“The police must be neutral, act responsibly and ensure the safety of all Malaysians and this includes supporters and politicians from both side.

“(Thus far) it is the BN party who is mostly involved in the political violence and we do not hear the other side harassing BN candidates, ” she said.

Political campaigns

On a related issue, Fernandez also raised concerns over the federal administration’s continuous abuse of government resources for political campaigns.

“Millions of taxpayers’ money have been poured into schemes and allocations since the dissolution of the parliament.

“Raja Nong Chik (for instance) has been using the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, which functions independently as a venue for election campaigns,” Fernandez added.

Bersih also questioned the reported spending of RM73 million by the Prime Minister’s Office for advertisement and public relations exercises.

They also reminded all participants of the GE13 to hold themselves to the highest standards of behaviour.

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