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‘Are you hiding something, Bersih?’

 | February 12, 2014

The NGO which champions free and fair elections has been asked to release its GE report soon unless they are hiding something.

PETALING JAYA: Polls watchdog Bersih has been questioned on the delay in releasing the findings of its tribunal report.

Umno Cheras division chief Syed Ali Alhabshee told FMT that Bersih should release the findings of the report as soon as possible.

“If you said it will come out after three months, then you should be responsible for it. With the delay, people will think you are trying to hide something,” Syed Ali told FMT.

The tribunal was formed to investigate the alleged irregularities that occurred during the polls.

He added that Bersih should also explain the delay instead of keeping mum.

“A month’s delay is acceptable, but if it is more than 30 days, then something is wrong,” he said.

The panel of the People’s Tribunal completed its session on Sept 22 and promised to deliver its report within three months but had not done so.

Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah yesterday told FMT that the judges were still in the process of writing the report.

“They will tell us when they are ready. But we are definitely chasing them to ensure that the report gets completed,” she said.

Maria however was unsure whether the report will be completed within the first half of the year.

No evidence?

Former Deputy Education minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi on the other hand said the rakyat were no longer anxious to know about the report’s contents.

Puad said  that the report was delayed because Bersih did not have evidence to prove whether the course of the 13th general election was clean or otherwise, citing the 40,000 Bangladeshi phantom voters allegation.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahimin in November had denied making any claims that there were 40,000 Bangladeshi voters during the last general election

Puad however said that it was now immaterial whether the report will actually be released or not.

He also claimed that many believed that Bersih leaned more to the Opposition, and it was obvious to the rakyat that the electoral watchdog were not so transparent after all.

“They are doubtful of Bersih’s attitude who were involved in three rallies (Bersih 1, 2 and 3).

“What else is there to expect from those who went against the law,” he said, adding that the rallies went against the Peaceful Assembly Act.

He then challenged Bersih to take a stand on the Kajang by-election and Anwar’s ‘early campaign’.

“They can’t even make a stand on issues like the Kajang by-election, so what else can be expected from the report?” he said.

Independent watchdog

Puad also pushed for a ‘truly independent’ electoral watchdog to be formed.

“I do not accept Bersih because they have been ‘contaminated’,” he said.

Bersih established the tribunal to investigate the alleged irregularities that occurred during the polls.

The panel was chaired by Yash Pal Ghai, an expert in constitutional law from Kenya. Other international panel members included Ramlan Surbakti, former deputy chairman of the Indonesian Election Commission and Kraisak Choonhavan, president of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus.

Local panelists included a former diplomatic officer from the Foreign Affairs Ministry Azzat Kamaludin, former University Malaya associate professor Mavis Puthucheary and Council of Churches of Malaysia secretary general Rev Hermen Shastri.

Among issues raised at the tribunal were, misuse of government machinery, money politics, bribery, intimidation, poor security of ballot boxes and concerns regarding tabulation and vote counting at the polling stations.


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