Suhakam condemns disqualification, vote buying and redelineation

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail says Malaysians should be able to exercise their right to vote freely. (Suhakam pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today condemned the disqualification of candidates, reports of vote-buying, and the recent redrawing of electoral boundaries ahead of the May 9 polls.

In a statement reaffirming its commitment to a free and fair election, it said the playing field had been affected by the “questionable disqualification” of candidates and the distribution of money and gifts.

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said although the practice was defended as being within the perimeters of Malaysian law, it had long been discarded by other democratic countries.

He also slammed the redelineation exercise, calling it an “epic breach of democratic election principles flouting proportionality”.

He said Suhakam had been informed of various instances where people’s right to vote was curtailed, and had heard complaints of postal ballots still not received up to 48 hours before the election.

“The people of Malaysia deserve to be able to exercise their right to vote freely as the will of the people is inalienable and sacrosanct,” he said.

He also reiterated Suhakam’s disappointment that it was not allowed by the Election Commission (EC) to monitor the polling process, calling this “completely unjustifiable”.

He said Suhakam would in the future call for a revamp of the EC, taking into account “wholesome practices” in other countries.

“Malaysia was ranked at position 125 out of 197 countries worldwide in the 2018 World Electoral Freedom Index and this is symptomatic of our situation,” he said.

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