KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 today called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into power abuse allegations that dogged the previous Electoral Commission (EC) during Election 2018.
The group’s chairman Thomas Fann said an RCI was needed after a tribunal on the matter decided that investigating the alleged wrongdoings of six EC members in GE14 would be academic as they were no longer in service.
“What is important is the process of investigation where the public will find out what happened during the period running up to GE14, and how the EC attempted to rob us of a free and fair election.
“The RCI is also to restore public confidence back with the EC, as we can always have closed-door meetings, but anything not made public would not satisfy the public,” he told a news conference here.
Fann said the proposed RCI should take a bigger scope compared to the one that guided the tribunal.
“There are those who might think Bersih is on a witch hunt, but that is wrong, as this is part of our struggle for a better democracy; whoever was wrong must be held responsible,” he added.
Bersih 2.0 suggested the RCI look further back into possible misconduct committed between May 6, 2013 and May 10, 2018.
The group also suggested former EC members such as its former chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah, his former deputy Tan Sri Othman Mahmood called as witnesses in the proposed RCI.
Among the alleged misconduct outlined by Bersih include gerrymandering through constituency malapportionment, publishing misleading delimitation plans which did not reflect an area’s true demography, implementing a flawed postal voting system, and the supposed destruction of voters’ addresses in the electoral roll.
It also listed as offences the past EC’s decision to hold polling on a working weekday, setting electoral campaigns as short as 11 days, disallowing accredited observations by independent observers on polling day, the refusal of EC officers to sign off on Form 14 and delaying the announcement of the voting results, and stopping voters who had queued up for hours earlier from casting their ballot once the clock struck 5pm, which is when polling used to end officially.