(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Election Commission should convene an all-party meeting to reach a consensus that the 235,104 postal ballots should not be issued unless the army and police allow polling agents of candidates access to monitor free and fair casting of votes.
This will be the most effective way to end one of the biggest blemishes of the Malaysian electoral system - the rigging of postal votes from the armed forces and the police.
There have been widespread and long-standing complaints that postal votes are marked by officers/captains of particular units through whom the ballot papers are sent while individual soldiers seldom get to mark them.
The majority of postal voters are also registered in constituencies where the margin of support are narrow for the Barisan Nasional, so that the postal votes can tip the support in favour of the Barisan Nasional.
After four decades and nine general elections, the time has come for the Election Commission to end the electoral abuses of the postal ballot in Malaysia, by requiring the armed forces and police to comply with stringent regulations to allow polling agents of candidates to have access to monitor the free and fair casting of votes before postal ballots are issued.
The army and police have the right to deny polling agents of candidate access to security establishments to monitor free and fair voting, but the Election Commission is duty-bound not to issue postal ballots unless the mechanisms are in place to ensure that there can be no electoral abuses in connection with postal ballots.
If the Election Commission is not prepared to take very simple steps to check electoral abuses with regard to postal ballots, the Commission not only lacks independence and professionalism, but is in no position whatsoever to ensure that the tenth general election in Malaysia would be "free, fair and clean".
*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic
Action Party Secretary-General & Member
of Parliament for Tanjong