In Malaysia, election is conducted by Election Commission Malaysia (ECM). ECM members are appointed by H.M. Yang diPertuan Agong under Article 114 of the Federal Constitution, after consultation with the Conference of Rulers.The independence of ECM is protected under Article 114(3).
Currently, there are 222 seats in the House of Representatives and 576 seats in 13 State Legislative Assemblies. In year 2008, there were 10.92 million registered voters and 7427 polling stations. The voter turnout for the last general election held in year 2008 was 8,161,039 or 76 percent of the total voters registered. This huge turn out is a clear indication that the majority of the voters are happy and free to exercise their voting rights in the existing electoral system.
The opposition pact between DAP, PKR and PAS won 82 seats in the House of Representatives and 196 seats in the 13 state Legislative Assemblies. How is it possible for the opposition pact to win so many seats and formed their government in 5 states if the election is not conducted fairly. The astounding win of the of the opposition parties is a clear and strong proof that election in Malaysia is conducted fairly. The huge turn out also indicates that there is no vote rig, manipulation or interference from the state authority in conducting elections.
Nevertheless, BERSIH alleges that the Electoral system in Malaysia is not a clean and a fair system. But, based on the above mentioned facts, the allegation made by BERSIH is baseless but politically motivated. Initially, BERSIH put up 17 recommendations to ECM to enhance the electoral system. ECM and BERSIH met several times reached some understanding.
Finally, BERSIH agreed to put up only 8 recommendations to ECM. ECM too agreed to study the recommendation put forward by the BERSIH. The 8 recommendation proposed by BERSIH cannot be solved immediately because ECM has no legislative powers. The Parliament members have to debate the changes proposed in parliament and Parliament has to pass legislation to make changes in the electoral system.
But, BERSIH has no patience to wait for the due process to take place and to everyone’s surprise, BERSIH changed their 8 recommendations to demands. BERSIH urged the rakyat to gather in full force, an unlawful rally on 9th July 2011 to demand for an instant change in the electoral system. This move is seen as an intimidation.
BERSIH force the ECM and government to act according to their wishes. BERSIH also appear to be collaborating with the opposition parties in calling for a public rally. BERSIH members are are reported to gather on streets and public places without a polis permit, an act violating the existing laws of Malaysia. It is clear now that BERSIH is adopting to a violence means to achieve their agenda. BERSIH is also urging and encouraging public to go to streets to protest against a government institution, namely ECM.
With this unlawful move, BERSIH’ is creating a perception that ECM is untrustworthy. BERSIH is conditioning the rakyat’s mind to blame the electoral system if they fail to win many seats as they wish in the 13th general election.