A group of civil rights societies have asked the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to hold a public inquiry on the 14th
general election (GE14) immediately after polling day on May 9.
“We request for Suhakam to launch a public inquiry into the integrity and conduct of GE14 immediately after the general election.
“We believe that a public inquiry is necessary to determine whether or not there were serious flaws in the electoral system which violated the constitutional rights of citizens,” the group said in their joint memorandum handed to Suhakam at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.
The memorandum was jointly signed by representatives from G25, the National Human Rights Society (Hakam), Bersih, Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram), Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).
They said the request for the public inquiry was based on numerous issues reported to and documented by them as well as the fact that the Election Commission (EC) has not been transparent in explaining these issues.
The groups also commended Suhakam on its decision to observe and monitor the electoral process of GE14.
“We are heartened by Suhakam’s resolve to vigilantly observe actions that can amount to fraudulent and abusive practices that undermine the right to political participation as guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“And that it would not hesitate, in pursuance of its mandate, to investigate and follow up on complaints and bring these to the consideration of the authorities, including the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” they said.
Received Joint Memorandum from @G25_Malaysia @HAKAMalaysia @bersih2 @ikrammalaysia @ABIM_24 @C4 on issues relating to Election Integrity - caretaker government, postal & advance voting. pic.twitter.com/LkdbYqWDuA— SUHAKAM (@SUHAKAM) April 20, 2018
The groups said some examples of “fraudulent and abusive” practices that undermined voters’ right to choose a new government were:
- Enticing voters to vote for a party through abuse of government machinery and funds
- Enticing voters to vote for a party through giving out gifts of cash and other promised favours
- Intimidating and threatening voters through various means, including the abuse of law and enforcement agencies as well as threats of penalty, punishment and violence
Besides these, the groups said there were even more areas they would like Suhakam to focus on during their observation of the GE14 electoral process and these were:
- Postal voting, as overseas postal voters had been given a very short time to return their ballot papers as the campaign period for GE14 was only 11 days. There were also concerns about tampering.
- Advance voting for which polling and counting agents, as well as international and domestic election observers, should be allowed to monitor
- Problems with the electoral roll such as alleged missing names, shifting of voters’ constituencies without consent and dubious voter registration
- Exploitation of racial and religious issues during campaigning
- Abuse of the Communication and Multimedia Act, the Anti-Fake News Act, the Sedition Act and other laws used to stifle freedom of expression
- Safely conducting the election during the campaign period and on polling day itself
Suhakam had on April 11 said it will be monitoring the upcoming polls and had expressed concern over the conduct of the EC.