(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said
yesterday that it was the responsibility of the Election Commission to ensure
that rules and ethics are observed during election campaigns and that it had the
power to tick off political parties contesting in the elections.
The comment by the Election Commission secretary, Datuk Wan
Ahmad Wan Omar, on Tuesday that the campaigning in Pendang and Anak Bukit was
“crude and callous”, which should not be happening in the country which
had held 10 general
elections and more than 350 by-elections.
DAP shares the concern of the Election Commission at the
reports of rampant dirty tactics and unethical practices
in the two by-elections.
However, this is actually the greatest failure of the
Election Commission all these years to
ensure a free, fair and clean electoral system and campaigning which is not
blotted by the 3M abuses of money, media and government machinery abuses.
I had repeatedly stressed that the Election Commission had
been remiss in the discharge of its constitutional mandate to conduct elections
in the country, which must include the responsibility to ensure a free, fair and
clean electoral system and campaigning.
Every time a by-election is held, the Election Commission
would appeal to the mass media to be fair – but its responsibility must not
end with such abuses, but should include monitoring the media coverage,
publishing its report and “ticking off” mass media which had been blatantly
Similarly, the Election Commission should be developing an
infrastructure to ensure free, fair and clean electoral system and campaigning
– which is an area it had totally
neglected all these years.
Serious allegations of dirty tactics have been made in the
Pendang and Anak Bukit by-elections, including charges that PAS supporters are
circulating posters such as the one
depicting Mahathir as a Catholic priest and another of the Deputy Prime
Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as pork seller.
These dirty tactics must be condemned by all right-thinking
Malaysians – but who knows who are the real culprits responsible for such dirty tactics?
Two days ago, the UMNO director of operations in the two
by-elections, UMNO Vice President Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib made the
allegation that PAS had taken the psychological warfare in the two by-elections
to new levels by printing leaflets condemning the former PAS president Datuk
Fadzil Noor, and telling all that Barisan Nasional were the ones who printed the
Was Muhammad right that the “attacks” on Fadhil Nor was
a “black operation” by PAS to get sympathy votes? Could the reprehensible
posters attacking Mahathir and Abdullah equally be “black operations”
by UMNO to take their psychological warfare in the two by-elections to new
These are all unsubstantiated allegations, and although the
dirty tricks are manifestly true, their authorships are unproven.
May be, what the Election Commission should do is to establish an independent inquiry after the Pendang and Anak Bukit by-elections, comprising representatives from Suhakam and NGOs, to inquire into the whole conduct of the two by-elections to make recommendations as to how the Election Commission can begin to take seriously its responsibility to ensure that the electoral system and campaigning are free, fair and clean and liberated from the 3M abuses of media, money and government machinery abuses.