BERSIH: The Star is right that EC must account for election expenditure

This is BERSIH’s press Statement released on 26 December 2007 which I doubt even the Star will carry. Meanwhile, the bail for the BERSIH 17 who was arrested for trying to go to Parliament to submit a memorandum to their elected representatives are again extended on Wednesday. Such extension was not usual.
BERSIH concurs with The Star that EC must account for election expenditure
“It is incumbent upon the Election Commission to provide a full and proper accounting of all election-related expenditure, details of which should be available online and on request.”This was the view expressed in an editorial in The Star on Sunday, 23 December 2007 – a view that the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) supports fully.Often (wrongly) depicted as anti-establishment and demonised by the mainstream media, it is perhaps a rarity that BERSIH would concur with the views of The Star!According to the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, the upcoming General Election will cost RM200 million to conduct, of which RM1 million will be spent on indelible ink and RM16 million on transparent ballot boxes.For the record, BERSIH never requested for transparent ballot boxes and has always been of the view that it is the systemic malpractice and fraudulent processes built into the electoral system which is distorting the credibility of Malaysian elections — not the ballot boxes.It is high time that the Election Commission accounts for its election expenditure so as to prove its financial integrity, as well as its credibility as a public institution tasked with upholding democracy in this country.

BERSIH also reiterates the need for the Election Commission to monitor the campaign financing aspect of political parties. Currently, there is a cap on monetary expenditure by candidates but no scrutiny of the sources of contributions, monetary or in kind, to the candidate’s campaign.

Administrative neutrality is another key aspect of a clean and fair election. Members of the outgoing government must be barred from using government machinery, and announcing development-linked allocations during an election.

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