Frankly Speaking: Let’s keep GE14 incident-free

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on April 30, 2018 - May 06, 2018.
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The campaigning for what has been termed the “mother of all elections” would have started by the time you read this. Without a doubt, there is a lot at stake, and Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan are both raring to go.

Would it be too much to hope that the 11 days of campaigning are vigorous but incident-free, with all those involved — the candidates and respective parties — refraining from any untoward behaviour?

While freedom of speech and expression is enshrined in Article 10 of the Constitution, it is important to prevent unwanted incidents. What happens before and during the 14th general election — thanks to social media — will be seen around the world and shape others’ views of our country.

Similarly, the Election Commission (EC) and the police should not only be fair in carrying out their duties but also be seen to be fair in everything they do.

EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah was quoted as saying that “the EC will invite election observers, both local and foreign, to look into the transparency of the electoral process in the upcoming election”.

“The local observers will consist of representatives from NGOs and other organisations that are eligible, neutral and non-partisan,” he added.

Everyone will be keeping a close eye on the enforcement of campaigning laws and any measure that restricts the rights of candidates to present their case to the voters.

Anyone who has participated in elections will be aware of the heightened energy and tension, but let’s not let things get out of hand.  Let’s show the world that Malaysians are a mature lot and that democracy is very much alive in the country.

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