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Election Commission Chairman Abdul Rashid should consider suspending the Sarawak state general election, in particular in Taib Mahmud’s Balingian, because of flagrant violation of election law forbidding election campaigning on polling day as Sarawak BN newspapers continued to publish pages of BN election campaigning particularly in Eastern Times and Utusan Sarawak
Rashid cannot be more wrong, as unfair, one-sided, biased and tendentious media reporting is one principal reason why the ninth general election in Sarawak does not qualify to be described as free, fair and clean.
Rashid and the Election Commission had been seriously remiss, irresponsible and negligent in the conscientious discharge of their constitutional duty for the conduct of elections in failing to address this bane of the election process in the country down the decades.
I have just returned from Sarawak and I am shocked that Sarawak Barisan Nasional newspapers have openly defied the Election Commission and the law – a heinous election offence going beyond fair and responsible reporting.
The Sarawak Barisan Nasional newspapers, Utusan Sarawak and Eastern Times, today carried page-after-page of reports of BN leaders campaigning for election support and calling on voters to vote for Barisan Nasional candidates – which is a blatant violation of the election law that there shall be no election campaigning after midnight on polling day.
Both Eastern Times and Utusan Sarawak in fact carried reports of such open campaigning for votes on the front-pages, with the former carrying some 16 pages blatantly violating the election law.
This is a defiance and test of the authority and integrity of the Election Commission to uphold the election law and credibility.
In countries like India where the Election Commission is an intrepid symbol of integrity of fair election laws and their enforcement, fearing neither the ruling parties nor the Opposition, an order would have been issued to suspend elections.
Abdul Rashid should consider suspending the Sarawak state general election, at least in constituencies where the BN newspapers Utusan Sarawak and Eastern Times have the heaviest distribution, because of flagrant violation of election law forbidding election campaigning on polling day – including Balingian, the constituency of the Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission