On the day of the 13th general election, evidence emerged, including videos circulated on social media, depicting violent acts committed by some members of the public towards individuals thought to be migrants in an attempt to stop them from voting.
While the efforts undertaken by the public to contribute towards clean and fair elections are commendable, Suaram and WAO condemn all acts of intimidation and violence targeted at any community, including migrants.
There was a high sense of anxiety prior to the 13th general election, touted by many as Malaysia’s most highly contested election ever. Legitimate concerns arouse over allegations of vote buying in exchange for the issuance of MyKads. Vote buying is unacceptable and illegal, and actions should be taken against the individuals and institutions who have abused their power in doing so.
The groundswell of support shown by the public to push for clean and fair elections has been unprecedented. Many reports have surfaced of fraud taking place during the 13th general election.
But in our fight to achieve clean and fair elections for the betterment of our country, we must not resort to violence and intimidation as a means.
Additionally, as we combat racism in our country, let us not commit acts and rhetoric that contribute towards xenophobia.
Towards this end, we urge all Malaysians to respect the rights of other human beings, including migrants, to security of person and to be free from discrimination.
IVY JOSIAH is executive director of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), and NALINI ELUMALAI is executive director of Suaram.