Update (1st December):
17 MPs have been written to. They are Seputeh, Puchong, Ipoh Barat, Lembah Pantai, Jelutong, Bintulu, Cheras, Segambut, Selayang, Serdang, Batu Kawan, Miri and Shah Alam. Read here for more
( The following is based on the articles by Kim Quek and Haris Ibrahim )
Current Election Commission Chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman is due to retire on 31st December, 2007.
On Nov 20, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz tabled for first reading the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2007 seeking to extend the retirement age of members of Election Commission (EC) from 65 to 66.
The Government has quietly introduced a constitutional amendment that will have an important impact on the course of history.
This bill will be tabled for second and third reading on DECEMBER 11, 2007
The move to extend Rashid’s term for another year could mean either that the elections will only be held next year or if before the end of this year.
On the day scheduled (December, 11) BERSIH is planning a gathering outside Parliament at 11am to call on parliamentarians to vote against the bill.
PETITION YOUR MPs NOW to Reject Extending Abdul Rashid's Retirement Age
Click HERE. This is a link to all the details of the MPs.
Write to your MP now AND TELL HIM/HER :
Send a copy of your letter to your MP to the firstname.lastname@example.org
to vote AGAINST the amendment bill. that you will check Hansard to make sure that if he or she speaks during the second and third reading of the bill, that that he or she MUST speaks AGAINST the bill. he or she is there to represent YOU and NOT the party. HOW he or she votes on this bill will determine HOW you will vote in the coming elections. you want a NEW chairman of the EC.
Haris Ibrahim of People's Parliament will collate all such letters so that we will all know which MP has been directed by their constituents on this important issue and who from amongst them abided by this direction.
Find the postal address or e-mail details of your MP.
We, the Malaysian voters therefore appeal to the King to exercise his power to appoint a new chairperson that truly commands public confidence, and who can detach the EC from the clutches of the ruling coalition.
Abdul Rashid MUST BE FORCED TO RETIRE on 31st December 2007.
And, Malaysian voters SHOULD NOT allow this Government to tinker the Constitution as and when it pleases.
WHY VOTERS SHOULD REJECT EXTENDING RASHID'S RETIREMENT AGE
Rashid as Chairman of the Election Commission is blatantly biased and unfit to continue to preside a free and fair election in the country.
Democracy cannot exist without elections. But it is not democracy when the country is inflicted with a critically defective election system that heavily favours one contestant. It is called a fraudulent electoral process. The winner of that election is then classified a FAKE.
Rashid is a virtual UMNO functionary.
His past performance is a clear indication that he only served to advance the political fortunes of ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) through unabashed gerrymandering at every constituency re-delineation exercise in the past few decades.
Abdul Rashid's decisions and actions as Chairman of the Election Commission are seen to perpetuate Umno’s political hegemony.
In an interview with Malaysiakini on Oct 10, 2003, when asked if EC is meant to be an independent body, this was what Rashid answered:
His conduct during the Ijok by-election in April is hopelessly disgraceful.
“No, never ever. You look at the constitution, what does it say?
That there shall be a commission that enjoys the public confidence. It does NOT say ‘an independent commission' .”
The Ijok election so scandalised that it rendered even election Malaysian-style meaningless.
Abdul Rashid did virtually NOTHING to BN’s open and massive bribery- spending tens of millions of ringgit in public funds on a constituency of only 12,000 voters in a matter of days prior to polling. Abdul Rashid not only failed to take action, but abetted by endorsing such bribery as legitimate government expenses.
The mammoth street rally in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 10 to hand over a petition for electoral reforms to the King was the culmination of accumulated frustration and despair at the hopelessly biased electoral system that has gone from bad to worse. Abdul Rashid as the Chairman of the Election Commissions is fully responsible for the frustrations expressed at the street rally on November 10.
Abdul Rashid, as Chairman of the Election Commission must be held accountable for playing partisan politics by manipulating the electoral process.
The independence of the Election Commission under Rashid's watch to partisan politics is questioned.
In the national interest, he must GO.
Abdul Rashid’s impending retirement has offered the nation a golden opportunity to kick-start serious reform of the electoral system.
For the Government to amend the Federal Constitution to steal the election through the manipulation of an institution to protect democracy is UNACCEPTABLE on any count.
The Neutrality and Independence of the Election Commission
For the electoral system to work, the EC must remain neutral. For this reason, EC has been accorded the same degree of independence as the judiciary, with Parliament determining the members’ term of service.
Once appointed by the King, a EC member CANNOT be removed without going through the same elaborate process as that for the removal of a judge - by a tribunal appointed by the King.
In fact, our constitution has shown even greater respect for the independent status of EC by having its members appointed by the King without the mandatory ‘advice’ by the prime minister as in the case of appointment of judges.
This ensures that the appointee is not obligated to the Executive. All the King needs to do is to consult the Conference of Rulers and to ensure that individuals so selected enjoy public confidence (Article 114 of the constitution).
Hence, there is enough constitutional protection to allow the EC to operate in comfort and security as an independent institution free from interference from the incumbent political power.
Without an impartial EC, how can we ensure that the power to rule is vested with the people and not hijacked by the incumbent?
Thus, we must ensure that a competent chairperson is appointed.
The King's Royal Prerogative
We respectfully suggest that the King should not confine his consideration to only the prime minister’s candidate, but should also cast his sight over the wide spectrum of civil society to select the most suitable person, on whose leadership much of our hope on restoration of democracy depends.
UMNO is Fooling Around with the Federal Constitution
Umno is trivialising the constitution through a shotgun amendment for political expediency. This must be deplored in the strongest terms.
Malaysians are asked, through the BN's overwhelming majority in Parliament, to approve a constitutional amendment overnight to accommodate Abdul Rashid. The MPs, as representatives of the people, must emphatically say NO.
The Constitution of a Democracy is RARELY Amended
The constitution of a democracy is rarely amended.
Take the case of US which, in its 231-year history, has only amended the constitution 27 times (mostly single amendments), the last being in 1992.
In Singapore, whose historical background is similar to Malaysia’s, the constitution has been amended only four (4) times, the last being in 1991.
In contrast, Malaysia has amended its constitution well over 40 times (mostly multiple amendments) consisting of not less than 650 individual amendments.
These figures speak for themselves as to the low priority that successive BN leaders place on the sanctity of law and the preservation of rule of law.
".... Yes, Malaysia has FREE , FAIR and TRANSPARENT elections.
It is FREE because you do not have to pay any money to vote. In fact, you can even receive money if you agree to vote for the ruling party. It is therefore more than free. It is profitable as well. And if your area faces a by-election, you will further receive tens of millions in development as the many by-elections thus far have proven.
Malaysian elections have never been transparent. But now the Elections Commission has introduced TRANSPARENT ballot boxes. So, as far as the government is concerned, Malaysian elections are now transparent as well and there is no longer any reason for anyone to complain about Malaysian elections not being transparent enough. Of course, the people in government are not able to differentiate between a transparent system and transparent ballot boxes.
And Malaysian elections are FAIR ?
And this is what the ruling party hopes will happen come the next general election -- and they are working towards that even as you read this.
- Barisan Nasional can garner 45% of the votes and STILL form the government.
- It can garner 55% of the votes and STILL rule with a two-thirds majority.
- It can garner 60% of the votes and still obtain 92% of the seats in Parliament. And this is what happened since 1969 until 2004.
- It can garner 70% of the votes and deny the opposition any seats in the spirit of pembangkang sifar or zero opposition.
And this is fair because this is a MALAY country.
We must make sure the Malays continue to retain political domination while the Chinese can retain economic domination and the Indians can retain… hmm… we have a problem with the Indians. What are we going to allow them to dominate? Okay, we can allow the Indians to dominate the record for having the longest-serving party president. There, that should now make the Indians happy as well.
What many Malaysians do NOT realise is that:
- ‘Malay’ seats come as low as 5,000 voters
- ‘non-Malay’ seats are as high as 100,000 voters or more.
This means even if 100,000 non-Malays vote for the opposition it will still be only one seat for the opposition while the same 100,000 ruling party voters will allow the ruling party four or five seats.-Raja Petra Kamaruddin
That is why the ruling party needs only
45%of the votes to STAY POWER and 55% of the votes to rule with a TWO-THIRD majority.
This is called GERRYMANDERING.