DAP calls on Abdullah to convene an all-party leaders’ meeting to reach a consensus and agree on an action plan to make the next 11th general election the most “clean, free and fair” election in the nation’s history
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s statement yesterday that he was not about to dissolve Parliament to pave the way for general election this month has ended the SMS rumour which had spread like wildfire in the past few days that Parliament would be dissolved yesterday, and that nomination and polling for the next general election would be held on Dec. 11 and 20 respectively.
The SMS rumour had little credibility and as I said at the DAP Lukut dinner on Saturday, I personally would be very surprised if it was true.
Now that he had made clear that he is not about to dissolve Parliament, DAP calls Abdullah to convene an all-party leaders’ meeting to reach a consensus and agree on an action plan to make the next 11th general election the most “clean, free and fair” election in the nation’s history.
In its report on the 1999 general election, the Malaysian Citizen's Election Watch (PEMANTAU) raised important questions about its credibility and legitimacy, such as:
• A large number of the adult citizens eligible to vote were denied the right to vote.
• The administration of the postal vote was highly questionable.
• Opposition parties were not given reasonable opportunities to carry out their campaign.
• The local broadcasting and print media were one-sided and blatantly biased towards the ruling coalition.
• The secrecy and freedom to cast votes especially among the armed forces and police was highly questionable.
However well-intentioned, its history has shown that the Election Commission cannot be relied upon to ensure that the next general election is “free, fair and clean” and will not be marred by blemishes in past general elections, such as those pointed out by PEMANTAU with regard to the 1999 general election.
Because of the heavy concentration of power – executive, legislative and even judicial – in the hands of the Prime Minister, which is against the doctrine of separation of powers between the three branches of government, only an initiative by the Prime Minister by convening an all-party leaders’ meeting could ensure the holding of the most “clean, free and fair” general election in the nation’s history.
The Election Commission’s Code of Ethics for the next general election, just like its codes formulated in past general elections, will be a non-starter and observed in the breach in substantive matters that go to the heart of a “clean, free and fair” general election – unless there is full endorsement by the top leadership of all political parties.
The consensus and plan of action which Abdullah should join with leaders of all other political parties to write and honour is to ensure that the next general election will be a model of a “clean, free and fair” poll not only for Malaysia but for the world - completely free from all forms of irregularities and intimidation, including threats of May 13 or racial riots if votes are not given to a particular political party.
Among the issues that should be addressed are:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman