Ambiga: Bersih 4.0 a promise if no electoral roll clean-up

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KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan yesterday vowed there would be a Bersih 4.0 protest if the Election Commission (EC) fails to clean up the electoral roll before the re-delineation process is conducted.

She said Bersih is adamant in its fight to tackle the flaws of GE13 to prevent a recurrence but the EC has chosen to turn a deaf ear to pleas from the public.

"It starts with re-delineation. So many of the seats were easily won by (Barisan Nasional) because of the way the constituencies were drawn. It is an unfair system," she said in her speech at the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) fundraising dinner at SMK Confucian here on Saturday night.

"Unless we insist the electoral roll is cleaned now, nothing is going to change.

"There will definitely be a Bersih 4.0 unless the electoral roll is clean. This is not a threat, but a promise," she added.

Ambiga said despite revelations at the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah, the government and the EC have not taken concrete steps to address the discrepancies in the electoral roll.

"If the re-delineation process takes place based on the current roll, it cannot be changed for the next eight years, which means, nothing will change in GE14 and GE15," she added.

The RCI is not only investigating the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah but also allegations on Project IC, where scores of immigrants were given citizenship in exchange for their votes.  

Since the RCI began earlier this year, some startling revelations have been made on the issuance of identity cards to immigrants.

Former Sabah national registration department assistant registrar Kee Dzulkifly Kee Abd Jalil and former Sabah NRD deputy director Mohd Nasir Sugip had testified before the RCI that they had allowed illegal immigrants to get identity cards in the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, Ambiga said the election watchdog's People's Tribunal, to take place from Sept 18 to 23, is an important step forward in the quest for clean and fair elections.

"We want to fix the flaws of the 13th general election before we head into the 14th general election," she said.

Six renowned individuals, three from overseas and three from Malaysia, are set to preside over the enquiry proceedings in Kuala Lumpur.

They include constitutional law expert and head of the Constitution Advisory Support Unit of the UN Development Programme in Nepal Yash Pal Ghai, Asean International Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus and deputy leader of the Democrat Party of Thailand Kraisak Choonhavan as well as Indonesian Election Commission former deputy chairman Ramlan Surbakti.

The others are Universiti Malaya Faculty of Economics and Administration's former associate professor Dr Mavis Puthucheary, the Foreign Affairs Ministry's former administrative and diplomatic officer Datuk Azzat Kamaludin and Council of Churches of Malaysia general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri.

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 19, 2013.