Call on Suhakam to conduct public inquiry into the dirtiest and most unfair campus elections in the public universities yesterday and to determine whether these are ominous signs that the forthcoming 11th national general elections will be a very dirty and unfair one
- when launching the DAP’s 46th National Day Celebrations and the “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign at the Tanjong Bungah market
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Friday): Fair-minded Malaysians should be very concerned about the campus elections in the public universities yesterday, the dirtiest and most unfair campus elections in the nation’s history, as they raise the question whether they are ominous indications that the forthcoming 11th national general elections would be a very dirty and unfair one.
It is most regrettable that despite advance publicity and warnings, including the lodging of formal reports, Suhakam had not been able to establish a Campus Election Watch in every public university to ensure that the student elections were free, fair and clean and conducted honestly, to be an example for national general elections. Instead, the campus elections had adopted lock, stock and barrel all the dirty and worst election tricks of the Barisan Nasional in general elections, including the curse of money politics and the tactics of fear and intimidation.
Student leaders in several universities have accused UMNO Youth of practising “money politics” in this year’s campus elections where “pro-establishment candidates” in certain universities were each given RM1,000 as campaign expenses and one mobile phone, with the university student affairs departments and officials acting as backers and even canvassers of the “pro-establishment” candidates, while the tactics of fear and intimidation were deployed against opposing candidates and some of their families with threats of expulsion for “anti-university” or “anti-government” activities.
At the University Putra Malaysia, the student affairs department conducted midnight raids on the rooms of several women undergraduates, accusing them of being involved in “underground student activities”; while in other universities, the authorities interfered with the holding of free, fair and clean elections, such as at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia and University Malaya.
Suhakam should conduct a public inquiry into the dirtiest and most unfair campus elections in the public universities yesterday and to determine whether these are ominous signs that the forthcoming 11th national general elections will be a very dirty and unfair one.
What is a matter of grave national concern going beyond campus politics and the universities is that such electoral irregularities and malpractices in the campus elections took place during the last two months of transition in the passing of the baton of the premiership from Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi by the end of next month.
Was Abdullah aware, and his consent sought, for the conduct of the dirtiest and most unfair campus elections in the nation’s history – as Mahathir, with less than two months left as Prime Minister, would be too busy to deal with such mundane matters?
If the answer is in the positive, then the Abdullah premiership will not usher in any new era whether for justice, freedom, democracy or good governance. If Abdullah was completely in the dark and had never given his “green light” for the dirtiest and most unfair campus elections in the nation’s history, then he should publicly give full support to the Suhakam to conduct a public inquiry to the campus elections.
Abdullah will be declaring open the Suhakam Conference on Human Rights and the Administration of the Law on the occasion of the 2003 Human Rights Day in Kuala Lumpur next Tuesday, (9th September 2003). He should take the occasion to announce the government’s full support and the co-operation of the public universities with Suhakam in the public inquiry into the dirtiest and most unfair campus elections in the nation’s history, to demonstrate the government’s sincerity and seriousness in establishing Suhakam to protect and promote human rights.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman