[click picture to enlarge]Your Majesty,
The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0) which comprises sixty-two (62) civil society organisations are grateful to Your Majesty for granting us an audience on 5 July 2011.
BERSIH 2.0 believes that the time has come for electoral reofrm in Malaysia. A successful democracy is one that is built based on elections that are clean, free and fair. The right to vote is enshrined in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Voting is important to allow the rakyat an active voice in government and to ensure the protection of other fundamental rights.
However, a system of clean, free and fair elections must exist so that voters may fully enjoy their right to vote and in order for their votes to be accurately reflected in the governance of the country. A clean, free and fair election would also avoid disputes of election results which, if allowed to occur, may jeopardise the peace and prosperity of the country.
It is the desire and intent of BERSIH 2.0, together with thousands of Your Majesty’s subjects gathered this day, Saturday, 9 July 2011, to appeal to Your Majesty for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to comprehensively study the weaknesses in, and to propose improvements to, the existing electoral system and process. BERSIH 2.0 requests that this Royal Commission of Inquiry comprise members of calibre and who represent all stakeholders.
Given that a general election may be called at any time, BERSIH 2.0 together with thousands of Your Majesty’s subjects gathered on this day, humbly invite Your Majesty’s attention to the following eight (8) short-term measures that should be implemented before the 13th General Election.
1. Clean the electoral roll
The electoral roll must be immediately revised and updated to ensure existing irregularities such as impersonation and ‘phantom voters’ are removed.
In the longer term, BERSIH 2.0 suggests for the establishment of an automated voter registration system which is based on the National Registration Department database.
2. Reform postal ballot
The current system of postal ballot needs to be reformed. Disenfranchisement of absent voters can be solved by extending the option to vote by postal ballot or in advance to ALL voters if absent from their constituency on polling day, regardless of whether they are in Malaysia or abroad. In addition, police, military and civil servants must vote normally like other voters if not on duty on polling day. To ensure transparency of the postal voting process, party agents must be allowed to monitor the entire process of postal or advanced voting.
3. Use of indelible ink
Indelible ink is a simple, inexpensive and effective solution to voter fraud used in other parts of the world to minimise voter fraud.
4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
Minimum 21 days campaign period would allow voters more time to gather information and deliberate on their choices.
5. Free and fair access to media
All media agencies, especially state-funded media agencies such as Radio and Television Malaysia (RTM) and Bernama, should allocate proportionate and objective coverage for all political parties. Public debates between candidates should be broadcasted.
6. Strengthen public institutions
The EC must perform its constitutional duty to act independently and impartially so as to enjoy public confidence. The EC must take independent and proactive measures to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and enforce the Election Offences Act 1954 as mandated by the Elections Act 1958. The EC’s repeated mention that they have no power to act is neither accurate in law nor does it inspire the confidence of the people in their ability to fulfil their constitutional role.
Apart from the EC, the public demand that the institutions of this country such as the Judiciary, Attorney-General, Royal Malaysian Police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) act independently, impartially and with integrity at all times in the execution of their duties and in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
7. Stop corruption
All forms of vote-buying during elections, including promises of financial allocations for development projects by Federal and State elected representatives holding administrative positions during the campaign period must stop. Stern action must be taken against those who commit any form of vote-buying.
8. Stop dirty politics
Malaysian citizens are tired of dirty politics that has been the main feature of the Malaysian political arena. All political parties and politicians must put an end to gutter politics. As citizens and voters, we are not interested in gutter politics; we are interested in policies that affect the nation.
On this day, Saturday, 9 July 2011, at Kuala Lumpur, BERSIH 2.0 together with thousands of Your Majesty’s subjects have united in a peaceful assembly in order to realise electoral reform, uphold democratic principles and claim the right for clean, free and fair elections for Malaysia.
Your Majesty’s subjects have experienced numerous obstacles and difficulties only because we wish to make elections in Malaysia the best in the world.
There are many amongst us who have been detained or made subject to legal action. Your Majesty’s subjects gathered on this day, humbly beseech Your Majesty that all those who have been detained because of their support for BERSIH 2.0 should be released and all legal action against them withdrawn.
BERSIH 2.0 together with thousands of Your Majesty’s subjects humbly beseech Your Majesty that the six leaders of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), including Member of Parliament Dr. Michael Jayakumar Devaraj, who has been detained under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969, be released immediately or charged in court.
Ampun Tuanku Beribu-ribu Ampun,
Sekian sahaja kami patik-patik sembah maklum, diiringi dengan salam takzim jua adanya. Amin Ya-Rabbal-Alamin dan Jazakallahu Khairan Kathira.
Mohon di ampun,
Wassalamu`alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Bersih Steering Committee, representing your majesty's subjects:
1. Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Chairperson)
2. Andrew Khoo
3. Arul Prakkash
4. Arumugam K.
5. Dr Farouk Musa
6. Haris Ibrahim
7. Liau Kok Fah
8. Maria Chin Abdullah
9. Richard Y W Yeoh
10. Dr Subramaniam Pillay
11. Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon
12. Dr Wong Chin Huat
13. Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh
14. Zaid Kamaruddin