TI-M ‘unethical’ for withdrawing as election observer

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PUTRAJAYA: Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar branded Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) as “unethical” for their last minute withdrawal as observer in the 13th general election (GE).

Although surprised by TI-M’s action, he however acknowledged that it was their right.

“They led us on. They came for all three meetings and they seemed very positive about the idea,” he told fz.com, adding that TI-M’s action “was not an issue at all”.

Wan Ahmad was commenting on the corruption watchdog’s decision to decline the EC’s offer of observing the GE, following “reservations” over the terms and conditions set by the EC.

With TI-M out of the picture, there are only four observers for the GE, namely, research outfit Merdeka Centre, the Centre for Public Policy Studies, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, and the Malaysian Youth Council.

Wan Ahmad said the four bodies were “enough” as they have affiliates nationwide.

He also clarified that in reality, TI-M was the only body to pull out, with the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights and National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (NIEI), declining the offer from the very beginning, due to it being involved in other activities.

NIEI, Wan Ahmad said, will still be the EC’s smart partner in a voter education programme that will begin this month.

Wan Ahmad was surprised by TI-M's 'unethical'

actions, but acknowledged it was their right.

He also shot down the idea of inviting Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) back into the fold as observer, accusing them of taking the commission for granted, not being serious in their role  and disrespecting the EC.

“The accreditation letters will be issued this month,” he said.

On a separate matter, Wan Ahmad said the EC will not recognise “Pemantau”, a citizen observers’ campaign by Bersih 2.0.

The “Pemantau” initiative, jointly launched with Mafrel and Pusat Komas, comes ahead of a four-month deadline for the dissolution of Parliament and dissatisfaction over the EC’s reluctance to make electoral reforms.

The campaign is aimed at ensuring a free and fair election by mobilising citizens as observers during the general election.

“It’s Bersih’s right to start it. As a Malaysian citizen, anyone can monitor the election but they won’t have the privileges accorded to accredited observers,” he said.

For more stories, go to www.fz.com, the website for freedom of expression and fairness in articulation.

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