Election Commission should pave the way and demonstrate “first world infrastructure, first world mentality” by ensuring that every Malaysian who registers as voter before dissolution of Parliament and State Assemblies is eligible to vote in the general election – when other first-world countries can allow voters registered on eve of polling to vote
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Wednesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi reiterated in his interview with local press editors on the occasion of his three months as Prime Minister that changing the mindset of Malaysians to match the country’s first-class infrastructure with a first-class mentality is his first priority.
However, this message does not seem to have percolated out of his Prime Minister’s chamber in Putrajaya despite his coming close to one hundred days in office, as all the important institutions, organs and systems in the country, whether the Cabinet, the individual Ministries, the civil service, Parliament, the Judiciary, the Election Commission, the media, the education, IT or transport systems, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, are still very stuck in the “First World infrastructure, Third World mentality” malaise and mode.
Abdullah said that he has “the duty now to deliver what I promised” – and he should deliver the first “First World infrastructure, First World mentality” general election in the nation’s history when he dissolves Parliament and the State Assemblies, making the next general election the most “clean, free and fair” of all 11 general elections without the traditional 3M abuses, namely money politics, media manipulation and misuse of government machinery, resources and funds.
The government, the Election Commission, all political parties - especially the ruling coalition- NGOs and the civil society should be prepared to co-operate to stamp out the 3M abuses in general elections to reflect a “first-world infrastructure, first world mentality” and the advent of a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption, money politics and all forms of political abuses during elections. Is the Election Commission prepared to convene such a round-table conference for a “First World infrastructure, First World mentality” general election to be held?
This seems to be a tall order, when at present, the Election Commission cannot even ensure a comprehensive, clean, honest and credible electoral roll. Can the Election Commission pave the way and demonstrate “first world infrastructure, first world mentality” by ensuring that every Malaysian above 21 who registers as a voter before dissolution of Parliament and State Assemblies will be eligible vote on polling day during the general election – when other first-world countries can allow voters registered on eve of polling to vote?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman