Large Suhakam team to monitor election campaign

Suhakam, the human rights commission, will make checks on ceramahs during the election campaign.

KUALA LUMPUR: A large team of Suhakam staff and commissioners will be deployed to monitor the conduct of the coming general election, the human rights commission said today after six organisations called an inquiry into the integrity and conduct of the elections.

The organisations submitted a memorandum that also called for attention on “fraudulent and abusive practices” that could effect the citizen’s right to vote, freedom of speech and expression and personal freedom and security.

Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai said election monitoring had already been discussed by the board.

“We will deploy our large number of staff and commissionaires from April 28 (nomination day) and also attend ceramahs to have an idea of what’s going on. We will do this in and out of KL,” he said.

Almost 50 Suhakam staff will be involved.

Mah said the safety of postal votes and ballot boxes were a cause for concern. “We will focus on current issues that could effect the election and we will deal with other issues after the election,” he said. A hotline for election complaints will be opened after polling day on May 9.

The memorandum to Suhakam called for action on offences such as enticement to vote, intimidation and threats against voters, problems with postal voting and advance voting, the electoral roll, exploitation of racial and religious issues during the election campaign and the abuse of laws such as the Communications and Multimedia Act, Anti-Fake News Act and Sedition Act.

Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kai (right) said election monitoring had already been discussed by the board.

The memorandum was signed by representatives of the G25 group, comprising mainly retired senior civil servants; National Human Rights Society (Hakam); Bersih 2.0; the missionary and welfare organisation Ikram; Muslim Youth Movement (Abim); and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism.

The Election Commission recently announced that election observers from Indonesia, Thailand, Maldives, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan would be in Malaysia for the campaign.

The Bersih electoral reform group has questioned the credibility of these observers as coming from countries that do not themselves practise a fully democratic system.

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