A political scientist friend writes:
In the Bukit Selambau by-election, it was reported that ‘Deputy Election Commission chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar pointed out to police that using musical instruments on nomination day was an election offence and requested that they “advise the supporters to stop” but the supporters kept banging on’. (Malaysian Insider, 29 Mar 09).
Can you believe this Election Commission (EC) Deputy Chairman? Is he for real? Banging drums that make ‘noise’ is an ‘election offence’?!? But political parties giving bribes in the past, government ministers providing instant noodles projects and other development goodies (see preceding post for a sample); using and abusing government machinery; people gambling on election results; a dirty electoral roll; etc. are not ‘electoral offences’?
This EC has selective vision. It takes offence at good-natured ‘noise’ but sees nothing wrong or illegal in all the long-standing electoral abuses reported in the media, to the police and voiced out in the courts for years! Of late, it even appears to take partisan positions and ignores the Perak Speaker’s declaration of three seat vacancies.
Perhaps Wan Ahmad was upset because he could not concentrate on his simple by-election work of registering so many independent candidates given the noise. If this is the case, the next Prime Minister should seriously make it a priority to consider appointing a more competent individual to take his place – one who can handle the pressure of working under ‘noise’.
And by the way, where is the ‘indelible ink’? Or is inking one’s finger after voting also an ‘election offence’ since this is another incredulous thing that the EC does not condone?