PETALING JAYA: Election reform group Bersih 2.0 has criticised the Election Commission’s handling of the nomination process yesterday as a “disgraceful start” to the 14th general election campaign.
Bersih’s steering committee said the denial of prospective candidates from contesting amounted to an assault on democracy and an insult to the people’s right to vote.
“The respective returning officers, the Election Commission, the police and the two officials from the National Registration Department must answer,” it said.
Bersih said the EC had overstepped its boundaries in rejecting the nomination of PKR’s Tian Chua, who was seeking to defend the Batu parliamentary seat.
It criticised “the arbitrary decision of the returning officer” to reject Tian Chua’s candidacy and called for a review of the returning officer’s absolute discretion in deciding whether to accept a candidate.
Bersih also criticised the officials in Rantau, Negeri Sembilan, for denying PKR’s Dr Streram Sinnasamy admittance to the nomination centre for not having an identification pass issued by EC.
Bersih said the constitutional right to stand for election should be upheld over any technical formalities. The pass was not a requirement by law but only EC administrative procedure.
In Kuala Kubu Baru, the DAP’s Lee Kee Hiong had been able to enter the nomination centre without such a pass, Bersih said.
The group also questioned the returning officer’s action in not disclosing the address contained in the MyKad chip for Gerakan’s Lau Hoi Keong, the BN candidate for Ketari, Pahang.
The DAP had contended that Lau’s address was one outside Pahang, but Lau had reportedly said that the correct address was recorded in the MyKad chip.