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Thread: Election Laws: Amendment to Election Offences Act withdrawn

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Election Laws: Amendment to Election Offences Act withdrawn

    In the 1st place, it should not have been tabled. It is such a blatant attempt at electoral fraud and indicates the extent of desperation of the ruling regime. We must remain vigilent.

    Gov't withdraws Election Offences Amendment Bill

    In a rare move, the Election Offences Amendment Bill will be withdrawn from the Dewan Negara tomorrow following “a lot of resistance”.

    According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz, the decision to abort the Bill was arrived at today after a 10-minute meeting between the government, the opposition and the Election Commission (EC).

    "I will table the motion in the Dewan Negara tomorrow," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

    The means that the Election Offences Act remains at status quo for the next general election.

    Nazri (left) said the decision was first made at cabinet level as the Senate are seeking two more amendments to the Bill.

    The Dewan Rakyat passed the Bill last month but with changes, including holding back the amendment which disallowed political parties from assisting voters to check their names and voting streams.

    Another amendment rejected by the Dewan Rakyat was one which allowed the Election Commission to dictate when and how long a candidate's polling and counting agents can stay in the polling stations.

    Amendments passed include the proposal to remove the candidate's agents from the Election Commission registration booth (barong) and to remove requirement for all printed materials to have printers and publishers' details. [See chart below]

    "Amendments made to the Bill by the Senate would have to go back to the lower house and withdrawing is a neater, better way," he said.

    'More public consultation next time'

    Nazri added that the EC had agreed to withdraw the Bill in entirety as more amendments made would render it pointless.

    He said that the government had only acted as a "postman" in tabling the Bill to Parliament, and did not know the contents of the Bill which was proposed by the EC.

    Nazri, who said that the Bill saw resistance from both government and opposition lawmakers, added that the government had tabled the Bill in toto as it had respected the EC's independence.

    The minister said that the last time something like this happened was three years ago, when a Bill was sent back to the Dewan Rakyat.

    "But the Dewan Rakyat did not take it up within three months and it lapsed," he said.

    DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, who was also at the press conference, said the EC should engage in consultation with all stakeholders before proposing a Bill to avoid this happening in the future.

    In an immediate response, the EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (left) denied the withdrawal was a slap in the face for the commission, who mooted the amendments.

    "Not really. We had our meeting chaired by Speaker of the Dewan Negara and attended by Nazri and Lim before the press conference.

    "We consulted each other and finally all agreed to abort it," he told Malaysiakini in a text-message.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thursday, 10 May 2012 11:39

    Withdrawal of Election Offenses Act a RED HERRING, warns PKR's Choong

    Written by Steven Choong

    The sudden halt on the Election Offences Act amendment bill after it was passed in the lower House of Representatives was a another BN’s public relation gimmick in portraying a Prime Minister who is serious in pushing for reforms. The MSM will write and comment that the EC proposed the amendment bill as it is an independent body and as a PM who is all for reform will not allow anything such as the amendment bill that so many perceived it as 2-steps backward in electoral reform.

    All the stories and happenings since 28 April 2012 was to divert attention away from two election regulations which were concurrently gazette on 27 April 2012. There were the much awaited regulations on the procedures of advance voting, the Elections (Conduct Of Election) (Amendment)(2) Regulations 2012 and Elections (Postal Voting) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 . The amendments to these two Regulations actually ensure BN’s victory in many strategic seats through the increase in votes from the arm forces and the police.

    This is the second amendment the Elections (Conduct Of Election) Regulations in 2012. The first amendment was gazetted in February 2012 and effective from 13 February 2012. The first amendment was mainly in relation to an entire replacement of Regulation 19 as well as the introduction of a new regulation 19A due to the use of indelible ink in the normal polling procedures.

    EC had previously stated that indelible ink would be used on advance voters but the first amendment was entirely referring to normal voters and the second amendment though were mainly on advance voting but failed to mention a single word on the polling procedures. Hence, there is uncertainty on the use indelible ink on advance voters.

    The second amendment introduced 3 new regulations to cover advance voting. 27A defines the persons required to vote as advance voters; 27B covers the safe custody the advance ballot box and 27C explains the counting of votes of advance voters.

    27A states that all arm forces and their spouses and so are all polices and their spouses but excluding RELA shall be required to vote as advance voters. Only a member of the arm forces and the police force who could not vote on the date fixed for advance voting can apply to vote through postal voting. The spouse of a police has finally been gazetted as an advance voter via 27A(1)(d). A point to note here is that the EC had been registering the spouses of police forces as postal voters before they were legally considered as either postal or advance voters.

    EC powerless when it suits them

    The EC in the FAQ section of it’s website has clearly indicated that the spouse of a police is a postal voter long before 30 April 2012 contravening the laws in existence then. This is yet another piece of evidence that the EC has acted beyond the power conferred upon it when it is advantages towards BN.

    When an act by the EC would put BN in a disadvantage position, it’s Chairman or his Deputy will claim that it does not have the power to do so such as the removal of doubtful voters in the principal electoral roll when Regulation 25 of the Election (Registration of Electors) Regulations clearly confers upon the EC a discretionary power to remove anyone for any reason. It is believed that the EC has been using Regulation 25 to remove non-BN supporters from the principal electoral all these years as there were just far too many complaints that electors’ names were deleted for no reason.

    27B explains the advance ballot box shall be in the safe custody of the returning officer or in accordance with the arrangement of the EC until the counting on polling day. 27C explains that all the procedures apply to the counting of normal votes shall apply to the counting of votes of advance voters.

    There is no new regulation similar to 27C that says that the normal voting procedures shall also apply to the voting procedures for advance voting. Without a specific new Regulation similar to 27C on voting procedures, it is uncertain whether the EC is managing the voting procedures inside an army camp or police quarters. The existing postal voting regulations also are silent as to who should manage the voting procedures inside an army camp or police quarters. However, the practice thus far is the arm forces and polices themselves are managing everything inside the army camps and the police quarters.

    Hence, many candidates or their agents who do not know that they need to apply for a special entry permit for his agents from the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Domestic Affairs in addition to the EC’s tags will not be able to enter the army camps or police quarters to monitor and observe the voting processes. Hence, many stories of votes rigging were told all these years due to no one were there in the camps or the quarters to observe and monitor the voting process.

    Hence, the strategies of the non-BN parties would be to reject as many ballot papers as possible during the opening of postal envelops stage. The 2010 Sibu by-election was a classic case where DAP won through the rejection of a big number of postal ballot papers in the opening of envelops stage. EC has now introduced advance voting to get rid of the use of envelops and declaration forms as required under postal voting. However, the voting procedures are left silent as in postal voting.

    Hence, the EC is clearly assisting BN to completely remove the risk of any ballot papers being rejected before counting commences but still retaining the power to manage the advance voting procedures with the arm forces and the polices. By not clearing defining the voting procedures for advance voting in the army camps or police quarters, the agents of a candidate do not know what to expect and will be completely ineffective in monitoring as well as detecting irregularities as this is something new.

    Since there is no reference in the new 27A, 27B and 27C to the revised Regulation 19 and the new Regulation 19A on the normal voting procedures, indelible ink will not be mandatory to the advance voters before the issuance of ballot papers. Hence, 100% turn-out for advance voters could be achieved through personation.

    Finally, 27C explains the procedures of counting of votes by normal electors shall apply to the counting of votes by advance voters. But where the votes of advance voters will be counted and whether under the supervision of the presiding officer or the returning officer is not explicitly stated as for normal votes. In the case of normal votes, counting is in the polling station under the supervision of the presiding officer, and as for the postal votes, in the main tallying center under the supervision of the returning officer. As the place which the votes of advance voters is to be counted is not explicitly stated, the place of custody of the advance ballot box referred to in 27B is also not explicit.

    To sum it all, the Election Offences Act amendment bill was a red herring to divert attention away from the above amendment regulations which were designed to leave loopholes in the advance voting process to facilitate votes rigging in the 13th GE.

    Steven Choong is the National Deputy Sec-Gen of PKR

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    It is very clear that UMNO cannot be trusted. They were trying to institutionize electoral fraud.

    Nazri: Pullout of amendment bill not done in haste

    • Bernama

    • 12:58PM Jun 11, 2012

    The withdrawal of the Election Offences Act (Amendment) Bill was not done in haste but upon the agreement of the Election Commission (EC), the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

    Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the government had discussed the matter with the Opposition Leader and the EC before withdrawing the bill.

    Just before the start of question time, M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) had asked for an explanation on the withdrawal of the bill which was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on April 19 and was being debated in the Dewan Negara.

    Nazri said: “When it was debated in the Dewan Rakyat, we made three amendments. When it was debated in the Dewan Negara, they (the senators) wanted to make two more amendments. It would be meaningless to make all the five amendments.

    “We asked the Opposition Leader and the EC for their agreement to withdraw the bill. That was a requirement of the EC. If you are dissatisfied, turn to the EC,” he said in his reply to Kulasegaran.

    Nazri also said that the cabinet was only responsible for facilitating the amendment of the bill and was not involved in amending it.

    The bill, tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on April 9, sought to make amendments aimed at improving the election process, including extending from 50 metres to 100 metres the distance from any polling centre where the public can be, except voters who have come to cast their ballots.

    - Bernama

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