Statement by Concerned Scholars on Coming Elections
The 13th Malaysian general elections will be held sometime between now and April 2013.
These elections have the potential to be the most free and fair elections held in the country for several decades.
For the coming elections to live up to this potential, we call on the government and other major players and stakeholders to scrupulously observe the following priority concerns which we see as key to ensuring an outcome that can have greater legitimacy among Malaysians and outside observers:
1. Implementation of recommendations of the Parliamentary select committee to clean up the electoral process
2. Free and fair access to mass media for all parties
3. Public service staff at local, state and federal levels to observe strict neutrality
4. Prohibition on misuse of Government and associated public facilities and apparatus for electioneering purposes
5 All parties to be transparent and accountable in the use of money during the elections. Both coalitions need to disclose their sources of funding and provide a detailed account of their campaign expenditure
To enable a more level playing field for the coming elections, it is necessary that these concerns be addressed immediately and not just before the elections.
We are especially concerned that urgent measures be undertaken to ensure that the civil service and media strictly observe strict neutrality in the run up to the coming elections. Necessary measures could be proposed by civil society organizations engaged in monitoring the elections.
Further, to forestall any attempt at disruption of the election outcome, we propose that all political leaders and political parties agree to a short statement promising that they will respect the will of the people exercised at the polling booth as well as honour a peaceful transition of power.
This declaration – to be jointly crafted by the ruling and opposition parties - should be widely disseminated as a public service to discourage any individuals or groups that may be intent on creating mischief aimed at overturning the outcome of the elections.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Embong
Dr. Azmi Sharom
Azmil Tayeb (Ph. D. candidate)
Dr. James Chin
Dr Faisal S. Hazis
Dr. Farish A. Noor
Dr. Terence Gomez
Dr. Khoo Gaik Cheng
Dr. K. J. John
Lim Chee Han (Ph. D candidate)
Dr. Lim Teck Ghee
Dr. Francis K. W. Loh
Gregore Pio Lopez (PhD candidate}
Dr Mavis Puthucheary
Dr. Mustafa. K. Anuar
Dr. Ruslan bin Zainuddin
Dr. Subramaniam Pillay
Tan Beng Hui (Ph. D candidate)
Dr. Wong Chin Huat
Assoc Prof. Zaharom Nain
YES, CHANDRA MUZAFFAR IS NOT ON THIS LIST AND PROBABLY BECAUSE HE MAY BE INDUSTRIOUS IN THE CAUSE OF HIS MASTERS BUT NOT ILLUSTRIOUS TO BE INCLUDED AMONGST THIS AUGUST BAND OF SCHOLARS.
This fact has become so obvious in his recent pronouncements on Bersih 3.0:
Just in case some of us are unaware, Chandra started Aliran, left it and took some Chair in UM courtesy of Anwar, then Deputy Prime Minister, joined PKR when Anwar was imprisoned, failed in an election bid in Bandar Tun Razak, left PKR in a huff and installed himself as president of the International Movement for a Just World, which seeks to raise public consciousness on the moral and intellectual basis of global justice.
In the internet and mainstream media, the issue of police brutality has become the main focus and memory of demonstrators and the Malaysian public. That could have been a topic that Dr Chandra – in defending the status quo – could have brought fresh insights from a human rights perspective.
However, he chose not to do so. Instead he churned out a propagandistic piece praising the political reforms undertaken as well as aimed at demonizing the Bersih leaders and its supporters from the opposition.
His reminder about the “degree of integrity in the electoral process” and the fact that there is no electoral process in the world that is totally free of blemish is quite a turn-around. Somebody wrote: The Chandra of old that I remember was lucid, scathing and critical of the lopsided electoral playing field in favour of the Barisan Nasional and the formidable array of dirty tricks, including mal-apportionment and gerrymandering, it used to win elections.
Chandra, you sure need to change to a new mouth wash.
A friend opined: My final problem with Dr Chandra’s article is its unprecedented attack on some of the Bersih and opposition activists as “frauds and hypocrites without any sincere commitment to freedom and democracy.” According to him, “through their politics of deceit and duplicity, they continue to manipulate mass sentiments for their own diabolical agenda.” These are strong accusations, going beyond even what the BN leaders have said.
He even said: It is also important to find out if foreigners were involved in the rally which degenerated into a riot.
Was there a riot….if there was who manufactured the riot? JUST what are you chamnpion of?
Columnist Muaz Omar asked:
Who are you to call others ‘frauds’ and ‘hypocrites’
Who are these people that he describes as frauds and hypocrites? It is unethical to hide under the cover of generalization in making these allegations.
Besides the requirement of naming them, Dr Chandra should realize that as a JUST social scientist he must provide evidence to prove his argument that they are frauds and hypocrites. What actions have they engaged in to deserve such demonizing from a senior social scientist holding the esteemed position of the Noordin Sopiee Professor of Global Studies?
Has he conducted any interviews with the Bersih leaders to get them to explain their positions? Or has he found them guilty without bothering to speak to them?
Chandra, in God we trust….the others show facts! Surely not another mutant ninja in the UMNO stable? Or you have mutated, invariably and inevitably….it is really the company you keep Chandy. But if you are comfortable, carry on for whatever time is left freewheeling with them!