Minimum campaign period under law for Lunas by-election highlights lack of independence and impartiality of Election Commission


Media statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The fixing of the minimum seven-day campaign period by the Election Commission for the Lunas by-election has again highlighted the lack of independence and impartiality of the Election Commission.

The Barisan Nasional is very worried about the Lunas by-election, especially as it would decide whether the Barisan Nasional would have two-thirds majority in the Kedah State Assembly.

Before the next general election, the electoral constituencies would be redelineated which would involve a state constitutional amendment needing two-thirds majority approval of the Kedah State Assembly if there is going to be an alteration in the number of parliamentary and state assembly seats for Kedah.

If the Election Commissionís redelineation proposal is unfair, it could be defeated if it could not get two-thirds majority support in the Kedah State Assembly, as happened in the Penang State Assembly in the previous constituency redelineation exercise.

Can the Election Commission explain why it has chosen the minimum seven-day campaign period permissible under the law for the Lunas by-election - fixing Nomination Day on November 21 and Polling Day on November 29?

The minimum campaign period should be the exception but it is becoming the norm for the Election Commission, as this fits into the Barisan Nasional campaign plans and strategy.  In fixing the minimum seven-day campaign period for the Lunas by-election, the Election Commission had acted legally - but against all notions of justice and fair play.

There should be greater openness, accountability and transparency on the part of the Election Commission in  its decision-making process, particularly with regard to the fixing of the campaign period, if it is to be held in high esteem as an independent, impartial and professional body diligently discharging the Constitutional mandate to conduct free, fair and clean elections in the country.
 

(14/11/2000)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman