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Fraud in Malaysian politics never-ending

By Joe Fernandez

If the 1987 Umno presidential election is taken as one yardstick, the response of the Court may not be in favour of a novel development of the law or, as some would allege, making law.

In that party election, the Court discovered that votes from 30 illegal party branches may have contributed towards Mahathir Mohamad’s narrow 43-vote victory over his challenger Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. It was alleged that the 30 illegal branches were aligned towards Mahathir. Even so, in a surprising ruling, Judge Harun Hashim declared the entire party unlawful. Had the Judge concluded that the illegal votes may have gone in the direction of Razaleigh, that ruling would not have arisen since the outcome was not affected!

Harun Hashim bought kamikaze arguments and denied Razaleigh
The Court did not take into consideration that the presidential election was only unlawful to the extent of the illegal votes and the party unlawful to the extent of the illegal branches. The Jury may still be out on the question of whether the Judge could have discounted the illegal votes and handed the presidential victory to Razaleigh. Many will argue that he could have but unfortunately he didn’t. The good judge has long gone to meet his maker. Dead men tell no tales.

Even if Mahathir had won by one vote, and it was determined that his victory was due to one illegal voter, the outcome had been affected. Both Mahathir and Razaleigh, the one illegal vote removed, had tied. 

One mitigating circumstance against the party being declared unlawful was that it had helmed the country since independence for Malaya in 1957 and steered the birth of Malaysia in 1963.

That approach could not be misconstrued as judicial activism using the fig leaf that our system of justice is adversarial.

Alas, the Judge bought the kamikaze arguments in Court that he had no alternative but declare the entire party unlawful if the Court concluded that illegal branches had participated in the presidential elections and illegal votes had also been counted. Again, the Court is not about the truth, justice or moral values but the law, no matter how much weighted against the public interest.

Court no help in awarding victory to the real polls winners

In another case, on 8 June, 2001 Election Court Justice Muhammad Kamil Awang made a landmark decision declaring the March 13, 1999, Likas election result null and void after upholding two election petitions filed by losing PBS candidate Dr Chong En Leong and former Chief Minister Harris Salleh of Parti Bersekutu. Justice Kamil had affirmed that the Likas electoral roll was tainted with more than 5,000 phantom voters. But who obtained those votes?

Former Barisan Nasional-rotated Sabah Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee, who polled 9,110 votes against 4, 962 by Dr Chong, lost the seat. Yong had won by 4, 962 votes. Harris drew 3,576 votes.

Even if all of the Likas-resident Harris’ votes came from the illegals, a likely possibility but nevertheless strenuously denied by those in his camp, that still left over 1,424 votes from the illegals for Yong since these people wouldn’t vote for PBS, then in the Opposition. If these 1,424 votes are discounted from Yong’s margin of victory, he still won by 3,538 votes. Only judicial activism could have saved Yong unless the ballot boxes were opened up and each voted recounted.

In a 15 June, 2001 media statement, then Dap National Chairman Lim Kit Siang lamented the subsequent disclosure that the Judge had received a telephone directive from someone at the top of the Judiciary to strike out the Likas petition without a hearing. Lim’s beef was that the Judge did not disclose the telephone call in Court.

So, not much can be placed in the case of proven electoral fraud, on the Court stripping the winner of a disputed victory and awarding it to his nearest challenger.

Never ending go back to India, China cries from Nusantara people

There should be a system in place for the Court, in case of election petitions alleging fraud, to scrutinize the ballot papers and determine who collected whose vote. That would be the most efficient way to determine polls winners instead of a re-poll which would necessitate the cleaning up of the electoral rolls, a process which has been bitterly disputed in the past.

Still, the bottomline may not even be the extent of electoral fraud.

It comes back to the system again.

The greatest fraud perpetrated against the people of Malaysia is the formation of pre-polls coalitions. These coalitions circumvent the democratic process by endorsing elite power-sharing and denying the grassroots majority meaningful participation in the electoral process. The formation of coalitions should only be allowed, by law, after the elections are over.

Coalition government need not be inevitability.

The party with the most number of seats in Parliament, for example, can share the Federal Cabinet and Government posts with other political parties without entering into coalition government.

If coalition government is the option exercise, such a coalition must disband on the eve of the next elections to ensure a free for all at the ballot box. That by itself would spell the end of political parties based on narrow considerations like race and religion.

Politics can then be fought on issues and these may be urban, suburban, rural, coastal, from the interior or the high mountain country. No longer would anyone be identified by his race or religion in politics or whether he’s an Orang Asal, recently or long arrived or the descendents of those recently arrived or long arrived.

No longer would anyone be told to “go back to India or China”, for example, if they are “not happy in Malaysia”.

No pledge from Dap not to fraudulently embrace Umno

Every election, and in the run-up to elections, the Indian community in particular are subject to all sorts of indignities, racial abuse and derogatory remarks in the struggle to confine the national cake to a smaller number of people.

The Indians are united by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, the Chinese are united by their bank drafts, and the Malays by their overdrafts. The makkal sakthi – people power in Tamil – cries of Interlok Pariah Umno is being heard again as the seatless Indians rail against the ruling party.

The Opposition is a marriage of convenience united by Malay hatred in particular for the BN in general and Umno in particular. The marriage appears to be less unholy now than when it was first formed.

The BN in Malaya, apart from Umno, has fallen apart and will crumble under a united Opposition assault come this 13th GE but will continue in Sabah and Sarawak, mauled and bruised in the latter in particular but still taking power.

In the absence of a public pledge, it’s being speculated that the urban and Chinese-based Dap would not hesitate to abandon its Malay and Islamic partners, PKR and Pas, in the aftermath of the 13th GE and team up with Umno to share the Federal Government provided the MCA and Gerakan are removed. That would be like the Pap of Singapore fraudulently achieving by the backdoor what it failed to do in Malaysia.

People of Borneo given the short end of the stick in Malaysia

The greatest fraud perpetrated in Malaysia was to weaken the voice of the people of Borneo nations in Parliament.

The two countries, Sabah and Sarawak, have a combined 57 seats in Parliament, less than the at least one third plus one promised by the 1963 Malaysia Agreement. This is 18 less seats than they should have out of 222 seats.

To add insult to injury, many of the 57 seats are held by Malaya-based parties across the political divide, thus further weakening the voice of the people of Borneo in the Malaysian Parliament.

The Registrar of Societies (ROS) is a party to these political parties being in violation of the Malaysia Agreement.  It facilitates Putrajaya ruling Sabah and Sarawak through rogue elements – Projek IC operatives, Moro National Liberation Front, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf – local proxies (local Muslims and illegals) and their stooges (Orang Asal).

The Malaya-based parties have not even been locally-incorporated in Sabah and Sarawak to comply with at least the letter, if not the spirit, of the Malaysia Agreement.

If politics is all about the re-distribution of power and resources, the people of Borneo are being given the short end of the stick in their already disputed participation Malaysia. There could be no greater fraud than this.

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