Category Archives: Elections

Selangor report on Local Government Elections

Both the Selangor and Penang PR state governments have commissioned studies on the revival of local governments, resulting in very different reports.

The Penang report holds that the power is in the hand of the federal government and the state can do nothing.

The Selangor report, commissioned to the Coalition of Good Governance (CGG) and submitted in July, listed three solutions to reintroduce local elections, two of which do not require federal consent.

While the report has been made public soon after its submission to the state government, it was widely reported in the media and few have read it. Feel free to share this pdf copy with your friend. LCE paper_final_23Dec2009


Perak Crisis – the ball’s in the royal court!

The Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim’s ruling that affirms the legitimacy of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar as the Menteri Besar of Perak is the first ray of light that spells the end of the 1BLACKMalaysia.

The political crisis however would not be over until fresh elections are called. I would continue wearing black until the Assembly is dissolved.

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The unsung heroes in Bukit Gantang

How did Nizar win Bukit Gantang when UMNO was expected to win a slight majority of the Malay votes and the polling day on Tuesday prevented many Chinese who had returned for graveyard visit (Qing Ming) from staying on?

This was perhaps the answer. Most Malaysians who do not read Chinese may not have seen this advertisement which appeared on the local section of the major Chinese newspapers on April 4 (Qing Ming Day, Saturday).

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BERSIH: Abdul Aziz should resign as EC Chief

EC Chairperson Abdul Aziz met representatives from both the BN and PR. However, no substantial issues on electoral reform have been discussed. It was very much a waste of time.

This was BERSIH’s press statement issued on April 22, which was not reported by many media, the exceptions are The Nut Graph, Malaysiakini and Merdeka Review:

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) warns the Election Commission (EC) Chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof that his position would be untenable if he continues to act like a Barisan Nasional (BN) election agent.

BERSIH reminds Abdul Aziz that he is constitutionally duty-bound to ensure free, fair and clean elections, his job is not to prevent elections and by-elections especially when it looks like BN cannot ensure victory.

As elections — including by-elections — are core to a representative democracy, EC must not propose any changes to deprive voters of their right to decide who they want to represent them.

If the principle of “no taxation without representation” is violated, a government which collects tax revenue will be reduced to nothing but a mafia outfit which extorts protection money from the people.

BERSIH urges the EC to instead push for the lifting of Article 48(6) which bars an elected representative from re-contesting for five years after resigning from the seat.

Elections are like job interviews. An employee has the right to resign and seek reappointment under different conditions. Whether or not s/he would be employed should be left to his/her prospective employer.

BERSIH demands that all state officers observe administrative neutrality. If Abdul Aziz cannot control his partisan behaviour, he should just quit his job. He can then work full-time as a BN election agent or lead a lobby group advocating for the abolition of elections.

Abdul Aziz’s earlier statement that he will study the possibility of not having a by-election in Penanti — right after Najib gave the excuse of by-election fatigue — shows that the Election Commission is a parrot that echoes BN’s opinions.

Also, the Election Commission’s insistence on studying and deciding if a seat is vacant rather than accepting the Legislature Speaker’s judgment, in Perak and now in Penanti, is both partisan and malicious.

Lastly, Abdul Aziz’s earlier comment that the voting pattern in Kuala Sepetang was worrying was also gravely inappropriate and uncalled for. The EC’s job is to administer elections, not make patronizing, partisan and unsolicited advice on the outcome of elections.

Why Elections?

War-making and state-making [are] organized crimes. – Charles Tilly.

We have been told once and again, elections are disruptive and wasteful, and now, bad for economy!

Why are elections a must?

Why must we have elections to decide our governments?

Why can’t we opt for horse-trading amongst lawmakers, palace coup, the rule of judges, military coup, police mutiny, bureaucracy mutiny or mob rule ala Thailand’s People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) as alternatives to topple and install governments?

Provided the people do not protest, these methods may well be much more smooth, efficient, peaceful and attractive to certain types of investors.

So, why must you guys, the so-called liberal democrats and constitutional monarchists, protest?

The answer, in a nut shell, is elections distinguish a government from a mafia or triad.

For my full argument, read

Mahathir should just run in Penanti!

Instead of offering himself to lead the BN campaign in Penanti, Mahathir should simply offer himself as the candidate.

What better venue to show that he is still relevant than a state seat under Anwar’s Permatang Pauh?

What bigger humiliation can he cause Anwar Ibrahim?

After all, he has never really retired from active politics. Even if he has said it before, that’s fine, he can flip flop again.

So, come on, Dr M, show Najib what real leadership is.

Change your address to Penang tomorrow.

Let’s take the bull by the horn. It will be the return of the King indeed!

Is every by-election a referendum?

Reporters have been asking this question: Is Penanti another referendum?

My take is this: elections become a referendum only when a decision on personnel transform into a decision on issue.

In other words, it must be dominated by a single issue, and arguably one of national significance.

While real referendums can have more than one question on the ballot, a metaphorical referendum cannot. If you can interpret the outcome in many ways, you can’t call it a referendum.

However, referendum or not, by-elections are “mid-term” elections, like “mid-term examinations”. They can always serve as a barometer of the popular mood even if they dont begin as a referendum.

Just dont think we should over-use certain words.