Sunday, 27 May 2012

Bersih says ‘vindicated’ by voter survey, proves EC lost mandate

May 27, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — The latest Merdeka Centre survey result is proof that voters have lost confidence in the current electoral process as well as the role of the Election Commission (EC), polls watchdog Bersih said today.

The findings, said Bersih co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, have justified the electoral reforms group's struggle and underscores the crucial need for true political reforms before the next general election.

The survey, conducted just days before tens of thousands joined the April 28 Bersih rally found that that more than nine in 10 voters in peninsular Malaysia want the electoral roll cleaned up before the 13th general election.

Merdeka Centre found that nearly half of the 1,019 registered voters surveyed believed the registry contained dubitable entries that included foreigners.

"Public confidence is a major issue, people are concerned the EC is not doing their job, their duty is to build confidence not come out arrogantly.

"The EC is (only) in employment in so long as they enjoy public confidence," Ambiga (picture) told The Malaysian Insider over the telephone.

When asked whether the survey result meant the EC had lost its mandate as an independent body overseeing the country's electoral process, Ambiga said : "Yes, I believe so."

"This is shown not only by the survey, but by the 250,000 that showed up last month at Bersih's rally.
"But the burden lies not only on the EC, but the authorities as well to ensure electoral reforms are carried out," she said.

"The survey results vindicates Bersih," Ambiga added.

She said the survey result also indicated that many Malaysian voters demanded accountability from the EC, and that the commission cannot afford to ignore this.

"People are not buying a piecemeal solution...The EC can no longer think people are stupid, that they don’t know what they are talking about."

The Merdeka Centre survey found that 92 per cent of voters want the electoral roll to be cleaned up before elections are held and that only 44 per cent of the respondents expressed confidence that the election process in Malaysia was free from irregularity and abuse.

48 per cent of the respondents agreed that the electoral list was inaccurate and "embedded with doubtful voters such as foreigners, people who were transferred without their knowledge or people with multiple identities."

Bersih's April 28 rally was the third in five years calling for electoral improvements.

After last July’s demonstration, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a raft of reforms including a parliamentary select committee to look into enhancing the electoral system over a period of six months.

However, early last month, Bersih called for another protest, saying the recently-concluded polls panel had fallen short of its demands, which include a cleaning of the electoral roll, postal voting reform, free access to media for all parties, and the use of indelible ink.

But Merdeka Centre said in a press statement that its survey conducted between April 14 to 26 found only 39 per cent of respondents understood the electoral reform movement’s key demands.

Fewer still, 34 per cent, believe the bipartisan committee on electoral reforms was a sincere attempt at electoral improvements.

Although tens of thousands descended onto the capital last month, the event was marred by clashes between police and protestors.

This led the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) to accuse the opposition of attempting a violent coup by hijacking the rally.

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