KUALA LUMPUR: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) today took to task PAS candidate for the Port Dickson by-election Mohd Nazari Mokhtar and independent Isa Samad for giving “lame” excuses for not signing the pledge to conduct a free and fair election.
Bersih said it could prove untrue Nazari’s claim that he had not been contacted by the election watchdog and that he had not received any documents from Bersih on the pledge form to support a free and fair election.
In a statement today, Berish said it had organised a press conference on Oct 1 where it had announced that a pledge form to support a clean and fair election would be sent to all the candidates.
“Bersih 2.0 subsequently contacted and gave the pledge form via Whatsapp to Mr Khairul Yazman Yahaya, who is PAS Youth chief of Negeri Sembilan and Mohd Nazari Mokhtar’s campaign coordinator and Mohd Nassaruddin Daud, who is the information chief of PAS for Negeri Sembilan. Mr Khairul Yazman Yahaya responded that he needed to refer this issue to the party leaders.
“Bersih 2.0 also went to the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and physically submitted the official letter and pledge form inviting Mohd Nazari Mokhtar to sign the pledge. The official letter was received and stamped officially by PAS headquarters.
“It is disingenuous for Mohd Nazari Mokhtar to claim that he did not receive anything from Bersih 2.0 when in fact we received a reply from his election campaign coordinator that Mohd Nazari Mokhtar will not sign the pledge as instructed by the party vice-president. If he did not know anything about this, how was the decision made and conveyed to Bersih 2.0?”
The election watchdog said it had kept a copy of the Whatsapp exchanges and could prove the conversation with both Khairul Yazman and Nassaruddin. It also has the official letter received and stamped by PAS headquarters “to prove the claim of Mohd Nazari Mukhtar as untrue”.
However, Bersih welcomed the statement by Nazari that not signing the pledge did not mean he did not support the principles of free and fair elections.
“We wish to remind that a banquet named ‘Jamuan Rakyat’ was organised by PAS on Oct 9. This may violate Section 8 of the Election Offences Act which prohibits treating of food, drink, refreshment or provision to induce voters to vote for a particular candidate. We call for a stop to such practices.”
On Isa, Bersih said he had questioned its initiative to get all the candidates to sign the pledge form and that he had stated only the Election Commission (EC) had the power to do so.
“Bersih 2.0 wishes to clarify that the pledge to support free and fair elections is a voluntary pledge. It can be initiated by any civil society organisation to educate and raise public awareness on politician’s commitment to clean and fair elections.”
It noted that it was officially accredited by the EC to observe the by-election in Port Dickson and that it would document and submit offences committed by candidates to the EC.
“Isa Samad should not use the Election Commission as a lame excuse to not sign the pledge and display his commitment to clean and fair elections to the voters in Port Dickson,” it added.