Media statement by Liew Chin Tong in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 21st March 2011:
Call for a campaign period of at least 21 days
As the Election Commission decides on the dates for nomination and polling for the impending Sarawak Election, which will be officially dissolved today, I would like to remind the Commission that it is its obligation to ensure a fair play in the campaign. An adequate length of the campaign period is essential for the voters to understand the platforms of all parties.
In various occasions, the Opposition and the civil society, especially BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair Election) have consistently called for a 21-day campaign period.
Malaysia's first election in 1959 has a campaign period of 42 days. A 21-day campaign period is only half of that period.
For a state as large as Sarawak with difficult geographical terrains and with the Opposition unable to afford costly logistical resources such as the helicopters, coupled with a biased government controlled media, the Election Commission must be seen ensuring a campaign period sufficient enough for the campaigners from both sides of the divide to reach the voters.
Any period shorter than 21 days will be seen as the Election Commissioní»s attempt to enhance Barisan Nasional's advantage.
* Liew Chin Tong, DAP International Secretary & MP for Bukit Bendera