Bersih demands resignation of EC commissioners over 278 violations during GE14

Members of Bersih 2.0 hold a press conference calling for the resignation of the commissioners of the Election Commission, May 14, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Members of Bersih 2.0 hold a press conference calling for the resignation of the commissioners of the Election Commission, May 14, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

PETALING JAYA, May 14 — Electoral watchdog group Bersih 2.0 has demanded the immediate resignation of all seven Election Commissioners, charging them with 278 violations during the recently-concluded GE14. 

Executive director Yap Swee Seng said they were also seeking to charge the commissioners and some election officers for breaking the law leading up to and during GE14. 

“A special task force must be set up by the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers to see this through, and a Royal Commission of Inquiry should also be initiated into the electoral system so that reforms can take place,” he said at a press conference. 

Yap said they expected the resignation and charging of the commissioners and officers to be completed within 100 days. 

The 278 violations are based on the number of complaints or reports made to Bersih during the election. These include 62 cases of wrongly-labelled state and Parliament ballot boxes, 37 cases of officers refusing to properly cross names off the electoral roll, and 36 cases of impersonation or phantom voters, among others. 

Bersih advocacy and education officer Zoe Randhawa spoke of instances where vote buying occurred in Sabah. 

“Cash amounting to RM200 and sometimes more were handed out to voters in Keningau, Tawau and Pensiangan by BN. In Keningau it was passed off as travel allowance,” she said. 

Other cases included biased behaviour by election officials and workers who instructed elderly or disabled voters who they should vote for at the station, ballot papers at 16 schools without markings, stamp or serial numbers, and difficulties faced by some in accessing polling stations. 

However, Bersih also acknowledged two positive improvements during GE14. 

“Compared to GE13 no complaints were received about the ease of removing the indelible ink.

“And in previous elections all parties blatantly flouted election laws by setting up campaign booths outside polling stations during Polling Day. The commission disallowed this which likely reduced harassment and violence in GE14,” said Zoe. 

Bersih will also release a comprehensive report in the coming weeks analysing GE14’s fairness and making recommendations to rectify the country’s electoral system. 

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