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Thread: BERSIH 2.0: Bersih wants ‘citizen observers’ to spot GE13 fraud

   
   
       
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    BERSIH 2.0: Bersih wants ‘citizen observers’ to spot GE13 fraud

    Bersih wants ‘citizen observers’ to spot GE13 fraud




    By Clara Chooi
    Assistant News Editor

    December 17, 2012
    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Convinced that the coming 13th general election will still be riddled with discrepancies, Bersih 2.0 plans to monitor the polls process by employing thousands more “citizen observers” as their eyes and ears on polling day.

    The electoral reform group has already launched its “Jom Pantau” and “Jom 100” but co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan(picture) said today that these campaigns will be expanded next month to keep the pressure on the authorities.


    The activist and renowned lawyer insisted that the polls would not be as clean as Bersih 2.0 wants and the best way to keep the authorities in check is by increasing voter turnout and employing citizens to watch out for any hanky-panky on polling day.


    “Can we expect true reform before the 13th general election? The answer to that is no,” she told a press conference with several other Bersih 2.0 steering committee members here.


    “As a result, we will do what we can to ensure there will be free and fair elections,” she said.
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    EC not capable of addressing the issues and have to resort to attacking the messenger instead of address the message.

    EC accuses Ambiga, Bersih of partisan agenda



    December 19, 2012
    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — The Election Commission (EC) questioned today the ability of Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to ensure all ‘citizen observers’ in her Bersih 2.0 electoral watchdog group obey the law and steer clear of fouling up the polls regulator’s work.

    EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar was reported by a Malay news portal as saying Bersih 2.0 was formed along partisan lines and that it was possible the group may have a certain agenda to protect its partisan interests.


    He told Sinar Harian Online that while the prominent legal expert who is co-chairman of the electoral reforms group is seen to be familiar with the law, he asked: “But is she capable of taking care of members involved in the Jom Pantau PRU13?”


    “Not all know the law, with the election closing in, this campaign launch may cause all sorts of problems to arise,” Wan Ahmad was reported as saying.


    The grassroots movement that has been pressuring the government to clean up the election process had earlier this week announced it will be employing thousands more “citizen observers” as their eyes and ears to monitor the election process on polling day.


    Wan Ahmad said the EC acknowledged the right of citizens to monitor the election process for any possible fraud that may arise, but said they must not disturb the work of the authorities and EC.


    “We want to remind them so that Bersih 2.0 that launched this campaign will not disturb this election’s affairs,” he told the news portal.


    Bersih 2.0 has already launched its “Jom Pantau” and “Jom 100” but Ambiga Sreenevasan said on Monday that these campaigns would be expanded next month to keep up the pressure on the authorities.


    The lawyer-activist insisted that the polls would not be as clean as Bersih 2.0 wants and the best way to keep the authorities in check is by increasing voter turnout and employing citizens to watch out for any hanky-panky on polling day.


    Ambiga said Bersih 2.0’s latest plans were born out of frustration that despite its push over the past few years, the government and the EC’s polls reform efforts have been unsatisfactory.


    She rapped the EC for purportedly being “insincere”, pointing out that the agency had only recently decided to set up a special unit to clean up the electoral roll.


    Ambiga also complained that the EC had failed to fulfil other key demands of Bersih 2.0, including an undertaking that all contesting parties would be given free and fair access media, international observers would be allowed on polling day and a firm commitment is made to put an end to all forms of political violence before or during campaigning.


    Bersih 2.0, a coalition of more than 82 non-governmental organisations, had held its second rally for free and fair elections since 2007 on July 9 last year, earning international recognition when scenes of chaos and violence were plastered across the foreign media.

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    In final leg before polls, Bersih to train Malaysians to spot GE13 fraud



    By Clara Chooi
    Assistant News Editor

    January 01, 2013

    KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — Fraudsters will have to tread carefully during the 13th general election as thousands of extra pairs of trained eyes will be helping the Election Commission (EC) and the police spot electoral fraud and political violence when polling day arrives.

    Apart from the polling and counting agents appointed by each electoral candidate inside every polling station, a new breed of observers will be trolling the EC camps outside and in the nearby areas while voters decide who should rule Putrajaya next.

    These are Bersih 2.0’s “citizen observers” — ordinary members of the public out to cast their own ballots on that crucial day, but armed with special training from local election experts on how to spot possible fraud and what to do with that information.

    In an interview withThe Malaysian Insider recently, Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan(picture) said the “citizen observers” initiative, a campaign called “Jom Pantau” that will be re-launched along with “Jom 100” some time this month, was part of the group’s last-ditched attempt to make sure that the 13th general election is conducted fairly.

    Ambiga, who has now gained international recognition for her work with the polls reform group, said the reason was simple — despite the raft of reforms and repeated assurances from the EC and the government, Bersih 2.0 still believes the coming polls will be the dirtiest in Malaysian history.

    She said that this was because those in power now have too much at stake when polls are called, and with the heightened sense of public responsibility felt by voters today, those who intend to cheat would have to pull out all the stops to ensure their will is done.

    “We have political violence going on even now. But the cops are not arresting anybody. It looks as if some people can behave with impunity.

    “On polling day, political violence is when you frighten people away from stations, when there are threats and some people get emotional on that day... don’t forget, much of this comes from members of political parties because they have invested so much in the polls.

    “But what people are alarmed about is how everyone gets away with it... Now the cops are partisan, they are getting orders telling them not to take action,” she said.

    “I think only cowards do it. Those who are losers... who think they are gonna lose, who are losers anyway, also those who are scared of losing, are the ones who indulge in this. Otherwise, there should be no fear at all.”

    Ambiga recounted Bersih’s many struggles over the past few years, from its first mass rally before the 2008 general election, to the July 9 gathering on 2011 and last year’s April 28 sit-in protest, and said that despite all its hard work, the government’s polls reforms have been pitiful, half-baked and insincere at best.

    “There is nothing genuine about their intention to reform. Nothing,” she lamented.

    But she said that Bersih 2.0, the polls watchdog group that became the catalyst to the burgeoning of Malaysia’s civil society movement, had decided not to accept defeat lying down.

    The group may not have convinced the authorities that a total reform to current polls processes are needed, such as wiping out the thousands of irregularities spotted in current voter registries or putting an end to political violence, but Ambiga said that Bersih 2.0 has chalked up an even greater achievement.

    “We have raised awareness,” she declared.

    “So this is why this January, we are going to step up our two campaigns to get more and more Malaysians out on the streets during polling day — to vote, and to help us keep a lookout for fraud.”

    Ambiga said Bersih 2.0, with the help of Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas) and Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel), will be working the ground feverishly to attract more “citizen observers” into its fold by using social media tools and working the phone lines.

    Another NGO, Tindak Malaysia, has already been training polling and counting agents or “PACABAs” — individuals appointed by every candidate to observe the polls proceedings inside the polling station itself.

    Speaking to The Malaysian Insider recently, Komas programme officer Arul Prakash offered a brief preview of the group’s training session planned for the “Jom Pantau” programme.

    He explained that among the most common offences that take place before and during an election are money politics and the abuse of government machinery, both state and federal, during the campaign period.

    “There are big, lavish dinners, handing out of goodies by using a party’s name or government department.

    “These are common things that we want people to observe,” he said.

    “Also, we want to have people keeping watch on the ground. So that those who plan on committing fraud, they will think twice... you are being watched... you better be careful,” he said.

    Arul said the key objective of “Jom Pantau” is to make sure that fraudsters are outnumbered by Bersih 2.0’s citizen observers and are frightened off from committing any offence during polling day.

    He said Komas currently has some 300 observers already registered under the “Jom Pantau” campaign but Bersih 2.0 hopes to attract at least thousands more to ensure that every constituency would have a sizeable group keeping close watch over the polling process.

    To register for training as a citizen observer, individuals are urged to visit Jom Pantau’s site at pru13.info.

    “We will release our training details and other information when we re-launch the campaign in January. Right now, we are still ironing out our strategies,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Tindak Malaysia has been training PACABAs for many months now. While its initiative is not a part of Bersih 2.0’s “Jom Pantau”, Ambiga said its work is central to the fight to keep the general election free from manipulation.

    Speaking to The Malaysian Insider recently, Tindak Malaysia representative PY Wong said the PACABAs are considered “the last line of defence” in the battle for free and fair elections.

    “You can have all the citizen observers in the world but without sufficient trained polling and counting agents, it would be pointless.

    “It is like shutting the stable gates after the horse has bolted. This is why we feel that Tindak Malaysia’s work can contribute greatly to civil society,” he said.

    Wong explained that there are many possible moments to commit fraud on polling day — throughout the entire “paper flow” process, from the inventory checks, to the election materials such as the ballot papers and the electoral rolls themselves, and finally, the counting of votes before a result is confirmed, accepted and announced.

    For example, he said the validity of a ballot paper is two-pronged — its serial number and stamp must be endorsed and double-checked to ensure that there are no duplicate votes.

    He added that during the polling process between 8am and 5pm, polling agents must make sure that only genuine voters are allowed to cast their ballots.

    “And make sure they do not vote twice. But don’t forget... we have so many faces to remember so we must let the process guide us and keep vigilant to make sure there isn’t fraud,” he said.

    Wong noted that the long-awaited indelible ink will be finally used to prevent double-voting in the coming polls but he warned that fraud was still possible despite the use of this preventive measure.

    “Even though the indelible ink will be used this time... it is designed to fail,” he complained.

    Explaining, Wong pointed out that there are insufficient rules governing the use of the indelible ink to ensure that the system is fool-proof.

    He said an individual could walk into a polling station using clear glue on his or her fingers and therefore, once marked with the indelible ink, this individual could wash the glue off along with the ink and walk into the station to cast another vote.

    In another example, Wong said the ink should only be marked on a voter’s finger after he or she votes, but in the present procedure under the EC’s system, this is done the other way around — a voter is marked before the ballot is cast.

    He said this would be extremely time consuming and could eventually disrupt the polls process, denying rightful voters their opportunity to cast their ballots before polling ends at 5pm.

    “We have the solution... take the finger-marking out of the polling process. So you can go back to the old way... only that once the vote is cast, there will be two ink bottles prepared for marking, instead of one... this would help comply with timing requirements,” he said.

    Wong, however, much like many other Bersih 2.0 activists, complained that his ideas were shot down quickly by the local election regulators in the EC.

    “That is why I say that all we can hope from citizen monitors is that they can be a deterrence factor... at the end of the day, it is for us all to have our hearts in the right place. Do we want our votes to count?” he said.

    But Ambiga still believes that even if electoral fraud continues to persist in the coming polls, the participation of more people in the polls process as citizen observers should count for something.

    The lawyer-cum-activist insisted that this would be Bersih’s greatest success thus far — that Malaysians are now more aware of the importance of a single vote could very well be the very reform that the group has been fighting for.

    “Now that is powerful. If people can see that there is hope... if Bersih has given them hope, then that is what makes us formidable,” she said.
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    Pemantau to recruit 10,000 to observe 'dirtiest ever' GE




    • 1:46PM Jan 8, 2013


    Three civil groups have banded together to launch the citizen’s campaign, Pemantau Pilihan Raya Rakyat (Pemantau), which aims at mobilising some 10,000 citizens as observers to ensure the looming 13th general election is free of fraud.

    Electoral reforms pressure group Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan (left) said volunteers of Pemantau, devised by Bersih, Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) and Pusat Komas, will “observe the election process from the campaigning period and voting day, as well as carry out media monitoring”.

    To ensure Pemantau remains nonpartisan, the 10,000 they hope to recruit must not be a member of any political party.

    “Members of political parties cannot be observers. We need to maintain the nonpartisan nature of the observers," she said.

    Ambiga had previously chastised the Election Commission for its seeming lack of commitment towards real reform and claimed that the coming polls will be “one of the dirtiest elections ever”.

    The monitoring will be carried out according to the international standard and declaration adopted by the United Nations.

    Further information on the project will be updated through Bersih'sFacebook page and official website, said Ambiga.

    Mafrel chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh who was present during the press conference, stressed that Pemantau is not empowered to interfere with the conduct of election but will only observe, record and publish a report after the general election.

    Pusat Komas executive director Arul Prakkash called on the public to feed Pemantau with information on the conduct of election.

    “We have also established a website - pru13.info, and we invite ordinary citizens to monitor and send us reports through text messages, hotline or Twitter.”

    The NGOs also asked for financial contribution from the public to fund this project through a campaign dubbed “RM10 for Pemantau”.

    Donation can be made into CIMB Islamic bank account 1238-0000-6611-00 under the name “Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor”.
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    Call for volunteers: PEMANTAU for clean and fair GE13







    by JOM Pantau on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:58pm ·



    21 January 2013Dear friends,Call for volunteers: PEMANTAU for clean and fair GE13BERSIH 2.0 has brought together Malaysians from all walks of life in support of one message: clean and fair elections. Over the past two years, ever-increasing numbers of citizens marched, mobilized their fellow citizens, donated to BERSIH 2.0’s campaign, and kept up the pressure on the government. It is thanks to your steadfast effort that Malaysia now stands at a pivotal moment ahead of the 2013 general elections.As such, on 8 January 2012, BERSIH 2.0 together with Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (MAFREL) and Pusat KOMAS launched a citizen’s campaign towards a fraud-free GE13: PEMANTAU, or Pemantau Pilihan Raya Rakyat in full. PEMANTAU is mobilising citizens to observe the electoral process, to deter and minimise instances of cheating and fraudulent practices that may take place during the campaign period as well as on polling day. They will also conduct media monitoring. These will be done in a non-partisan manner employing methodologies that comply with international standards and practices. This initiative will not intervene into the work of the Election Commission and accredited observer groups, but in fact shall complement them and help to ensure cleaner elections.PEMANTAU aims to cover as many seats as possible based on the number of volunteers we manage to mobilise. High priority will be placed on seats anticipated as hot seats, marginal, high number of new voters or high incidences of irregularities. We are thus making an urgent call for volunteers and funds.How you can be part of PEMANTAUPEMANTAU is urgently seeking 10,000 volunteers as election observers. If you are above 18, not a member of any political party, and willing to give your time during the campaign period and on polling day itself, sign up at or e-mail BERSIH 2.0 at with your name, MyKad number, address, e-mail and telephone number.In the coming weeks, training and recruitment sessions will be conducted in each of the states and major cities throughout the country. Please be on the lookout for announcements at the PEMANTAU website (www.pru13.info) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/JomPantau). RM10 for PEMANTAU campaignThe PEMANTAU initiative is also seeking financial support to enable the mobilization and training of large numbers of election observers. The funds collected will be regularly updated on our website with audited accounts made available. With your support, PEMANTAU will be able to train election observers all over the country, cover expenses for field-work during polling day, and develop material to aid observers in their work. We appeal to the public to donate RM10 (or more) to this project.Support the "RM10 for PEMANTAU" campaign by donating to BERSIH 2.0:Account No: 12380000661-10-0Account Name: Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti SelangorBank: CIMB Islamic, Section 52, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, MalaysiaThe most important individuals in the upcoming elections are ordinary Malaysians like yourself, who can make clean and fair elections a reality. Jom pantau!Thank you.Salam BERSIH!Steering CommitteeCoalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah, Dr Farouk Musa, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin
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