Hitler's notorious minister of propaganda would have been proud of the way the editors of our English and some vernacular national media covered what is probably the most important event the country has seen in relation to public outrage over the way the ruling party has rigged the elections. The two English papers focused almost entirely on the massive traffic jams and the government's version of the historic gathering held to present public concerns on election rigging to the palace.
Such incredibly biased spin by our mainstream media of the Istana Negara march on Nov 10 and further efforts by the government to discredit the organisers and opposition parties is an attempt to conceal what almost two generations of Malaysians and international political and social scientists have written numerous books and research papers on: the systematic debasement of the credibility and legitimacy of the electoral process over the last 50 years.
Dishonest electoral conduct by the ruling party includes:
- The manipulation of electoral boundaries
In addition, there is a denial of legitimate media space to the opposition parties; silencing of issues they have raised and minimal, if any, coverage of their proposals for change. It is no wonder that the leaders of the ruling party are confident the Barisan Nasional can be in power for the next 50 years.
Readers interested in how the ruling party has manipulated the electoral process to its advantage are spoilt for choice. Reference to any of the following scholars: Sothi Rachagan, Mavis Puthucheary, Noraini Othman, Lim Hong Hai, Wong Chin Huat, Harold Crouch, James Jesudason, John Funston, Rainer Heufers, Bridget Welsh, Ong Kian Meng, Mustafa Anuar, James Chin, William Case, Francis Loh Kok Wah, Andrew Aeria and others.
These will provide important facts and figures on the truth behind the facade of 'free and fair' elections in the country. Unfortunately such analysis and data have been deliberately obliterated Goebbels-style from the national media coverage so far.
Finally, the Malaysian public will be interested to know some of the important ideas that have emerged from the independent scholarship on the reform needed to ensure a free and fair political process. These include:
- A reintroduction of local elections.