Monday, January 12, 2009

KT Elections: As long as it is not the candidate (or his agent), it is OK ...

So, it is OK for UMNO to go around and give each voter money (gifts,etc..) to vote for 'the candidate' - and that is what the Election Commission seem to be saying...

It's OK as long as it is not the candidate (or his agent) spending...
Political parties are not committing an offence by holding dinners as part of their activities in Kuala Terengganu by-election campaign, according to the Election Commission (EC).

kuala terengganu by election 120109 spr deputy chairman wan ahmad wan omarEC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the provisions of the Election Offences Act 1954 refers to only the conduct of a candidate standing for election and to the candidate's agent.

"It is not fair to blame the candidate for something that is sometimes beyond his influence or control," said Wan Ahmad told a press conference at the Kuala Terengganu municipal council today.

He was replying to a question as to whether the multi-course 80-table dinner hosted by Gerakan for the Chinese community at the Chung Hwa Wei Sin school here could constitute an election offence.

kuala terengganu by election gerakan dinner 110109 audienceBarisan Nasional candidate Wan Ahmad Farid Salleh had attended the event with Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Said and Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon. - Malaysiakini, 12/1/2009, EC: Law does not forbid treating by parties

What is the reason for the imposition of spending limits in the first place? I believe that the Election Commission must really look into the rationale of this rule.

I thought that it was to ensure a more even playing field - to prevent some 'rich' candidate spending millions of ringgit in an election to the disadvantage of the others not so rich candidates. The principle ensures a certain amount of 'equality' between candidates.

The imposition of 'spending limits' also tries to ensure a more independent 'wakil rakyat' - not just a 'wakil rakyat' who will also be beholden to the rich and powerful that pumped in the molney for the campaign.

The principle/value behind this rule really must be reflected in all other areas besides just that actual spending of money . There must also be the policy that equal air-time for candidates in television and radio - especially those that are government owned or controlled. The same should also apply to newspapers.

GERAKAN (or BN) giving free 'makan' for the Chinese - government giving monies for Chinese schools ... I do not think the Malaysian voter will so easily 'sell off' his/her right of choice of his/her 'wakil rakyat' for such petty things.

The present day Malaysian voter will enjoy the good meal, say thank you for the money given to assist the school, say thank you for the other 'goodies' etc... and then on voting day exercise his/her right to vote.

Today this right to vote - is maybe not just about choosing the 'wakil rakyat' - but about so many other things. It could be a vote against the BN for its many failings - or it could be just a vote for greater 'check & balance' in Parliament - or it could be a vote to indicate Malaysians want a different ...not BN-government for Malaysia - or maybe they just want to move into an time when Malaysians will have 2 real choices, i.e. BN or Pakatan Rakyat.

That aside, we do seriously need an Independent Principled Election Commission - who is not only independent, but is also seen to be independent.

1 comment: said...

My call to all KT voters: