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Let foreign ‘referees’ ensure fair play

March 27, 2012

A general election is an important pillar of democracy, which all bad governments want to damage. Observers are there to ensure it stands tall and sturdy.

A fraud on a massive scale cannot be ruled out when the people go to the booths to cast their votes. The upcoming general election is a duel to the death for the ruling party which has been riding high for more than 50 years. A party that has grown grossly fat and extremely prosperous over the course of so many years will not give way without a dirty fight. There are strong indications that every nasty trick in the bag will be used to ensure power will not slip into the hands of the opposition. The incumbents are staring at possible defeat in the contest for political supremacy and the terrible fate that awaits them once the change of guards takes place.

It is plain for all to see that the government is working overtime to change the rules of fair play: shifting voters illegally, creating “phantom” voters, granting illegal immigrants citizenship and the right to vote, buying votes, handing out cash aid to vulnerable groups, intimidating voters… the list goes on and will grow longer by the day. If need be, the prime minister and his political servants will grovel at the feet of the people to win their sympathy just for one day. They will shed their stained clothes, don lily-white garments, play Santa Claus, sing hymns of innocence – all in a desperate gamble to prolong their unwelcome stay.

Fair election is unlikely in the face of gerrymandering and all the other associated crimes. The opposition will get its nose bloodied and its leaders will be dragged through the mud by every foul means conceivable. The tainted government will stoop to the lowest possible level of gutter politics to turn the tide in its favour. It will use the full might of the government machinery to work for its devious ends. It is a combat with no holds barred and no referee to blow the whistle. But in a global village, all democracies cannot escape the scrunity of the world. Hence, the urgent need for international observers.

Malaysia may boast it is a mature democracy and can conduct its elections without outside help. It has an electoral body to do all the counting – and the dirty job. Nobody trusts the Election Commission (EC) anymore. The EC is simply another weak limb of the government and has lost its moral bearing. Its record is nothing to shout about and it can no longer claim to be truly independent and fair. By failing to act in the interests of the people, it has lost the right to protect the sacred ballot boxes. The country must now invite foreign observers to ensure the course of parliamentary democracy does not take a disastrous turn.

Electoral fraud is the same everywhere. It is practised, overtly or covertly, in countries that swear by democratic principles or the barrel of the gun. Leaders resort to skullduggery when they want to perpetuate their unpopular rule. They turn nasty when they know the game is up for them. They strongly oppose the presence of election monitors simply because they do not want the lid blown off on their behind-the-scenes work. In Malaysia, there is a strong case for inviting international observers to come to our shore to keep tabs on the whole electoral process. Their presence cannot be construed as interference in the domestic affairs of the country. A general election is an important pillar of democracy, which all bad governments want to damage. Observers are there to ensure it stands tall and sturdy.

When the prime minister declared that the seat of government – Putrajaya – must be defended at all costs, it is a clear sign that the ruling party is going all-out to maintain its grip on power. This is manifestly dangerous because nefarious activities will inevitably come into play. The weather on election day will be most bleak if observers are not on the ground to report on foul play. Democracy will suffer a fatal blow if the results of a dirty election are allowed to stay. A clean and honest fight is all that the people and the opposition want. But the government cannot guarantee fair play. Let the foreign “referees” do the job.


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