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Mere ‘fraud’ not consideration in 13th GE

By Joe Fernandez   

Malaysians by and large worry that “fraudulent practices” by way of the electoral rolls and at the ballot box will cheat them out of the Government they want in Putrajaya and in the states. This should not be read as having a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Government in the Federal Administrative Centre instead of one formed by the Barisan Nasional (BN).

Fraud can work both ways although the outgoing BN, revamped from the Alliance Party in the wake of the searing Sino-Malay race riots of 13 May, 1969, has ruled the country since 1957 when the British left Malaya.
In the absence of proof in the form of the proverbial smoking gun, indefinite BN rule by itself should not be seen as having been facilitated by fraudulent electoral practices. The formation of the BN itself stretched out the welcome mat for the Alliance Party.

The system itself is at fault.

The playing field is not level.

The Court should not allow the gazetting of tainted electoral rolls even if evidence of such fraud, for example Projek IC and the like, was discovered well after the public display and objection period for such rolls is over.

The delineation of constituencies is another issue since it facilitates gerrymandering.

Winning by default not evidence of fraud in elections

Putrajaya, for example, is a parliamentary seat with less than 6,000 voters. There are many Putrajayas in Malaysia which are all BN territory. Indeed, it has even been estimated that with as little as 18.9 per cent of the votes cast, the BN can still obtain 112 seats in Parliament to form the Federal Government. There are 222 seats in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Opposition strongholds have anything up to 100,000 or more voters. So, BN can still lose the popular vote and form the majority in Parliament, for example. In that case, only its moral right to govern can be questioned by the Opposition and the people. The Court is not about the truth, justice or moral values. It’s about the law.

To digress a little, the Congress in India at one time, before the advent of coalition government, was able to form the Federal Government single-handedly with less than 30 per cent of the total votes cast. 18.9 per cent in Malaysia would be even more shocking!

There’s a case for limiting the number of registered voters in any parliamentary seat to 50,000, plus or minus either way, within a 10,000 range. So, Putrajaya by itself will not qualify to be a parliamentary seat.

Even so, the Opposition has not been able to get its act together in recent years until the watershed 12th General Election of 2008.

Defection of Opposition after May 13 fraud perpetrated on the people

So, the ruling party can still win by default as it has been the case in Sarawak except for one point in time in 1987 known as the Ming Court Affair. After that, the Malay-based Permas disbanded and its ally, the Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) joined the state government in coalition, only to find itself deregistered several years later. That set back Opposition politics in Sarawak until 2009 when the Malaya-based Opposition, despite not being united, made a credible showing in the state election.

This time the same Opposition is more united than ever in Sarawak but it is only the parliamentary seats are at stake. Seven to eight parliamentary seats, out of the 31 at stake in Sarawak, are already in the bag for the Opposition. It does not have any local Opposition parties to contend with apart from the mosquito Sarawak Workers Party (SWP), bankrolled curiously among others by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to do in a coalition partner, the rising Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), the part successor party to PBDS.

The people of Sarawak appear to be willing to place Sabah opposition strongman Jeffrey Kitingan’s Borneo Agenda on the backburner for the moment as they wrestle with the Herculean task of removing the Taib Dynasty from power. They are willing to enter a temporary marriage of convenience with the Malaya-based Opposition parties for this singular purpose. The Borneo Agenda is explained as being against everything that the parti parti Malaya in Borneo stands for and their local presence.

The 10 May, 1969 General Election became an aberration when the Opposition fled to the newly step up BN to replace the Alliance Party.

Part of the blame for the political weakness of the opposition in Malaysia can be placed on the since discarded International Security Act (ISA) which hung like the proverbial Sword of Damocles over the Opposition and also struck fear in the people at large.

Majority right to rule, minority right to be heard

Mass civil disobedience was not employed by the Opposition as a weapon in their arsenal. There were no hungry stomachs to march. People still had food on the table. It’s not like in France when Marie Antoinette, the Austrian-born Queen of France during the 1789 Revolution, infamously remarked, “If the people have no bread, let them eat cake”. This was her response to news that the peasants were starving. King Louis XVI was beheaded on 21 Jan, 1793 for treason, “trying to get help from royal supporters in England, Prussia and Austria”. Marie Antoinette was beheaded on 16 October, 1793 for the same crime.

The first past the post system should be reviewed to allow for the voices of the losing voters to be heard in the legislature, through non-constituency based seats, if a party which failed to win even one seat in any legislature managed to muster a minimum five per cent of the votes cast nationwide. While the majority – as reflected in the legislature – has the right to rule, the minority i.e. the losing votes in elections, has a right to be heard. That’s true democracy!

Effecting the outcome the principle in determining election fraud
The BN, thick-skinned as they are when it comes to corruption issues, are extremely sensitive when it comes to any hints of any element of fraud in the quest for power. It’s aware that the eyes of the world are on it and besides there’s the question of the Malay maruah – self-respect – and the issue of legitimacy to consider on such issues, if not in corruption.

This maruah/legitimacy factors, the Malay Achilles Heel, has seen the BN Government setting up the long-awaited Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the extraordinary population explosion in Sabah and its reflection in the electoral rolls. The same factors, maruah and legitimacy, has seen the BN wrestling with the issues of statelessness, and the marginalisation and disenfranchisement of the Indian Nation in Malaysia, the legitimacy of Malaysia in Sabah and Sarawak, and the right of Malaysians abroad to vote.

Legitimacy by itself has wider implications, embracing security considerations, and its reflection on valuation in the economy in several areas driven by investor and consumer confidence viz. the strength of the currency, value of stocks, property prices, credit risk, credit rating and the like. When politics comes in through the door, economics will fly out the window with widespread security and other implications which will render any quest for political power either pointless or a phyric victory.

When it comes down to brass tacks, mere fraudulent practices in the GE, abominable as they are to those who claim the moral high ground, are not the main consideration in law.

No election anywhere in the world is without an element of fraud.

What’s more important to consider in the post-GE period is whether fraudulent practices in terms of vote count at the ballot box were of a magnitude which affected the outcome; what would be the response of the Court if indeed fraudulent practices had determined the outcome.

Many options for people to act against fraud in elections

The respective share of the popular vote is immaterial except for the Opposition and the people taking to the streets and demanding fresh polls, free and fair, under an Interim Government or the inclusion of the Opposition in the division of Cabinet and Government posts without resort to coalition government.

A 3rd alternative is a Revolutionary Government formed by the people. Revolutionary Government would also be the option if the people conclude that there’s no way that the BN can be dethroned through the ballot box.



    Or Sino-Malay race riots of 13 May, 1969?

    It is important to make distinction between a riot and a major massacre or mass murder.

    A riot implies a rather spontaneous outbreak of violence. A massacre implies that the mass murder was planned.

    There was no Sino-Malay race riots on 13 May 1969 but a massacres engineered by UMNO extremists.

    Tunku Abdul Rahman blamed Najib's father Razak for using the massacre as a cover to overthrow the Tunku.

    The real number of innocent Chinese citizens numberd over 75,000 dead or maimed but UMNO has covered this up.

    The saddest part of it all is that after 44 years the victims and their families never had any real closure to this UMNO made tragedy.

    UMNO still wants to shift the blame as seen in its Tandera Putera film.

    But the guilt remains on the bloodied hands of UMNO.

  2. Sooner than later,like every human beings,the people who were & are running umno will meet with the last ultimate judge to answer their works/deeds. And it is written after all, "You are already judged by what you do." period. We will see them in the last judgement!!!


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