Illegitimacy of elections since 1984 — Ravinder Singh

DEC 2 — In his speech at the 26th convocation of Universiti Utara Malaysia His Royal Highness the Yang Di Pertuan Agung expressed his concern about people challenging the laws of the country, including the Federal Constitution. He is reported to have said “The people should always respect and uphold the law.”

In the light of the Agung’s advise, where does the admission or confession of the former Election Commission chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, that the three redelineation exercises he did were done in such a way to ensure Malays retained political power and that he did so “in a proper way, not illegally”, stand?

I don’t think the Agung means that anyone is above the law or exempted from the law. Abdul Rashid’s claim that he did the redelineation in a proper way is a lie. What he did was illegal as it breached the 13th schedule of the Constitution.

The three delineation exercises were carried out in 1984, 1994 and 2003. As these were carried out in violation of the direction of law as contained in schedule 13 of the Constitution, it follows that all the seven (7) General Elections since 1984, i.e. in 1986, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2013 which were conducted based on the three unconstitutional delineation exercises, are also unlawful and as such void.

In other words, although the BN won all those elections, they were not won with clean hands and the governments were formed unconstitutionally. But do any of those who won by playing foul games, as the referee (the EC) had put obstacles, even great obstacles in the path of the opposing teams, feel shame? The obstacles were the huge disparities in the number of voters in the different constituencies where the value of a vote in an opposition supporting area was reduced to a mere 10 per cent or even less compared to a vote in a BN supporting area. A numbers game according to Abdul Rashid.

Abdul Rashid’s confession has confirmed that the EC’s aggressively defended ‘independence’ was just a facade behind which was a government department answerable to the Prime Minister and charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the incumbent government remained in power election  after election at any cost. To ensure this, the dwindling support had to be shored up with ‘correct’ delineation so that even with fewer votes, the BN would retain its two-thirds majority. This was the ‘vision’, ‘mission’ and duty of the EC.  

The art of gerrymandering was fined tuned to achieve this. First, the guiding formula in the Constitution was done away with. The Constitution initially stated that the difference in the number of voters in the various constituencies should not be more than 15 per cent. This was later amended to 50 per cent. After that it was fully blacked out, but what remained, and still remains in the 13th schedule, is the phrase that the number of voters in the different constituencies must be ‘approximately equal’ or in Malay ‘lebih kurang sama banyak’. This was a blank cheque given to the EC. Abdul Rashid and his team were now free to interpret ‘approximately equal’ as they wished, throwing out the dictionary meaning of this phrase. To them, a 9kg fish was approximately equal to a 1kg fish when a kindergarten child can tell you it is not. It was halal as the purpose was to ensure the masters remain in power. Could any Mufti or JAKIM please confirm this to put matters straight?   

Not satisfied with this blank cheque, the EC introduced a ‘more efficient’ and faster way of counting votes. All ballot boxes from all the polling stations in a state constituency used to be taken to a central counting station, manned by a different set of election workers. The boxes would be opened, all the ballots mixed and then counted. This way it would not be known how voters in a small localised area had voted, e.g. how a particular kampung or longhouse voted.   

This method was not suitable for effective gerrymandering. So the process was changed to counting in each and every stream in every polling station immediately after close of balloting. This way, the EC obtained excellent data on voter sentiments in very small areas as each voting stream caters to between 200 to 800 voters. This method of vote counting is in reality voter-spying. It tells how many per cent of the 200 to 800 voters, living in a small area, had voted. With this information in hand, particular kampungs and housing areas can be put in BN-friendly or BN-unfriendly constituencies. This tilting of the playing field, or shifting of the goal posts, is unconstitutional, which means it is illegal, or haram

On the heels of Abdul Rashid’s confession about gerrymandering we have the former deputy chief of the EC Wan Ahmad Wan Omar fretting about being at the receiving end of public criticism for 16 years that the EC was not independent in the way it was conducting its affairs. 

Abdul Rashid’s confession confirms that the EC was indeed an errand boy of the Prime Minister’s department. Being directly under the control of the Prime Minister, how could the EC be independent if its independence could lead to jeopardising the incumbency of the ruling party? The EC was being true to being “Saya yang menurut perintah”. For public perception, it had to be painted as a very independent body that was fair to both sides! Abdul Rashid’s confession peeled off the flaking paint to reveal what it really was, not that everyone had believed it was an independent body.          

A few months ago, Dr Mahathir said some people don’t feel shame like the Japanese do when they do something wrong. This is because their culture requires that those who bring shame upon themselves have to commit hara kiri. Thus they make sure they do things well so as to avoid having to hara kiri themselves. Could Dr Mahathir tell us whether both Abdul Rashid and Wan Ahmad, who do not feel ashamed of violating the 13th schedule of the Constitution, should perform hara kiri themselves?

Thinking about it, the longest serving prime ministership was made possible by both these officers of the EC. So who should do hara kiri?  Someone needs to lead by example.


* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.

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