26th February 2011, 06:48 PM
Observer: 'Amateur' EC chief not fit for role
Feb 26, 11 11:08am
Election Commission chief Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof should quit his post since he claims that he is "not an expert". (http://malaysiakini.com/news/157026)on what constitutes inducement during elections, said a polls watchdog.
Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections chief BK Ong said that Abdul Aziz's own admission meant that he was an "incompetent" polls administrator.
"I think he is incompetent since he cannot identify blatant vote buying attempts. In any other countries, similar offenders would have been arrested on the spot," he said
Ong, a veteran polls observer who has participated in four observation missions overseas and observing local polls since 2004, said that Abdul Aziz(left) appears to be not well versed in the law.
He said that Abdul Aziz should have reported the matter to the authorities for possible violations of the Election Offences Act 1954 and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
Ong was commenting on Abdul Aziz's refusal to state whether the goodie bags distributed by the 1Malaysia NGO in past by-elections and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's "you help me, I help you" speech on Feb 19 at Merlimau violated election laws.
Abdul Aziz claims that the EC had no experts on the matter and it was best left to the other authorities. He even went as far as to suggest that people who attend dinner functions, some with lucky draws, were not local voters.
EC, MACC not serious
On Najib's speech, Ong said the premier was obviously offering a quid pro quo and based on his experience in other countries, the relevant authorities would have begun their probe.
"If the EC and MACC are serious, there are a lot of ways to do it. For example, they can put their foot down now and warn them never to do it again.
"They can stamp their authority if they want to, but they are not doing it," he said.
Ong adds that one of the major flaws in Malaysia's administration of is that the EC commissioners are all retired civil servants from departments and agencies not relevant to the running of polls.
"That's just the top level. At the returning officer level, they are almost always district officers who serve politicians. Would a district officer dare finger wrong doing on the part of his masters?
"Other countries, such as Bangladesh, use retired judicial officers such as retired judges for the position. In Indonesia, respectable NGO leaders are asked to serve the same role. Why not here?" he asked. malaysiakini. (http://malaysiakini.com/news/157090)
27th February 2011, 06:33 PM
Is the EC hazy, selective or gutless?
Feb 27, 11
Reading article 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954, one may sympathise with the Election Commission for its 'haziness' about what constitutes the electoral offence of bribery.
As a rule, most laws can be somewhat vague in their wordings, being very careful to be specific enough to demonstrate plausible jurisdictions but vague enough to allow for the differences in between individual cases.
One reason why lawyers are so lavishly paid to make sense of, or further obfuscate laws, is each ruling helps to interpret what a particular law actually means.
The act detailing electoral offences is no better. It twists and turns in all directions, a veritable showcase of legal acrobatics.
Article 10 of the act while simply enough stating that bribery is an offence during elections, gave nine different yet similar complicated interpretations, whose specificity would evade us non-schooled in legalese. [See below]
Thus to some extent we can understand how the EC may not be able to come to grip with what it is supposed be looking out for.
But a trend is clearly prevalent in all nine subsections.
The words "promises, offers, valuable considerations, provisions, money, gift, loans, procure promises" were mentioned prominently as being those considered as bribe if any were used to "induce, procure, endeavour to procure" votes from voters on behalf of the candidates.
This is a fact that even any layman would be able to discern, let alone a public official in charge of an agency empowered by such an act.
If such a public official were to decry himself "not an expert" in such matters, it begs the question of his qualification to undertake the duties of his office. The clarion call for him to step down has already begun as election observers spared no brickbats.
'Lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu'
One wonders if it were not a promise that Premier Najib Razak himself intoned, in his "lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu" remark in Merlimau. Similar perhaps to his infamous "you help me, I help you" preposition to Sibu voters to vote for BN for flood mitigation funds.
Najib clearly told the people to vote for BN and he will sign the allocation in Sibu. While no such carrot is present in the Merlimau speech, I doubt it is that hazy for us to fail to read between the lines at his implied innuendo.
But to the EC, it is still hazy.
One wonders of the 1Malaysia NGO giving provisions to voters in exchange support of the 1Malaysia concept. Especially given the fact that 1Malaysia is being promoted by the BN as its campaign, the 1Malaysia logo is even present in BN functions and logo.
More so, the so-called 'independent' NGO has links to MCA, it has as officers MCA members and as one insider puts it, was charged with rekindling Chinese and Indian support for the ruling coalition.
In other wordsm it gives gifts to voters to induce their support to the candidate on BN's behalf. Something like that should be clear despite the 'independent' rhetoric.
But still, the EC is hazy about this.
Nik Aziz pounced on by EC
Que va (what gives) EC? One wonder if the commission need aspirins to clear their headache or a pair of glasses to see better.
Though when it comes to the opposition, the EC seems headache-less, haze-free and has no need for new glasses.
It is alarming to note that the act of giving tithe or alms by Kelantan MB Nik Aziz Nik Mat prior to the by-election in Galas was immediately pounced upon by the EC.
It is interesting that in that instance the EC is not hazy about what constitutes electoral bribery and was immediately an expert on why religious alms must still be considered a bribe.
The question of selectivity must now arise. How does the EC select when to be clear and when to be hazy?
The EC claims it is powerless to act, and its chief Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said that the commission is not an enforcement agency but a management agency.
Yet despite claiming to be powerless, the EC refuses to ask for teeth to act on its own, preferring to depend on the police and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission. Neither of which are paragons of independence from 'executive intervention'.
EC shirks its duty
One wonders if it really is powerless, or just too afraid to take up the mantle of a truly independent commission.
After all there are clauses in the Election Offences Act that empowers it to stop illegal electoral practices and with conviction disqualify candidates.
Are those not statutory powers that it can derive authority from? The EC can depend on the MACC and the police to help with enforcement but it has the authority to order such enforcement if deemed necessary, or dares to.
But then again one, perhaps, can understand, as has been pointed out by watchdogs, commissions are often headed by former civil servants, whose service, as the chief secretary himself is reportedly fond of saying about the Malaysian civil service, depends on "the government of the day".
ELECTION OFFENCES ACT 1954
10. The following persons shall be deemed guilty of the offence of bribery:
(a) every person who, before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives, lends, or agrees to give or lend, or offers, promises, or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure, any money or valuable consideration to or for any elector or voter, or to or for any person on behalf of any elector or voter or to or for any other person, in order to induce any elector or voter to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of such elector or voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election;
(b) every person who, before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives or procures, or agrees to give or procure, or offers, promises, or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure, any office, place or employment to or for any elector or voter, or to or for any person on behalf of any elector or voter, or to or for any other person, in order to induce such elector or voter to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any elector or voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election;
(c) every person who, before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement, or agreement as aforesaid to or for any person in order to induce such person to procure or endeavour to procure the election of any person, or the vote of any elector or voter at any election;
(d) every person who, either before or during an election, upon or in consequence of any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement, procures or engages, promises or endeavours to procure, the election of any person, or the vote of any elector or voter at an election;
(e) every person who, either before or during an election, advances or pays or causes to be paid any money to, or to the use of, any other person with the intent that such money or any part thereof shall be expended in bribery at any election or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge or repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any such election;
(f) every elector or voter who, before or during any election directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives, agrees, or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration, office, place or employment, for himself or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any such election;
(g) every person who, after any election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting or having induced any other person to vote or to refrain from voting at any such election;
(h) every person who, after an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, on account of and as payment for voting or for having voted or for agreeing or having agreed to vote for any candidate at an election, or on account of and as payment for his having assisted or agreed to assist any candidate at an election, applies to such candidate, or to his agent or agents, for the gift or loan of any money or valuable consideration, or for the promise of the gift or loan of any money or valuable consideration or for any office, place or employment or for the promise of any office, place or employment; and
(i) every person who, either before or during an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any person on his behalf, in order to induce any other person to agree to be nominated as a candidate or to refrain from becoming a candidate or to withdraw if he has become a candidate, gives or procures any office, place or employment, or agrees to give or procure or offers or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure any office, place or employment, to or for such other person, or gives or lends, or agrees to give or lend, or offers, or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure any money or valuable consideration to or for any person or to or for such other person, or to or for any person on behalf of such other person. Malaysiakini. Subscription required. (http://malaysiakini.com/news/157163)
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