Commentary Politics

A problem here, a problem there but Malaysians ready to vote

Good that Tian Chua is challenging his disqualification.

Good that Tian Chua is challenging his disqualification.

Written by Aziz Hassan

April 30, 2018.

Recollections & Reflections – A commentary

WITH the second phase of the electoral process over and done with last Saturday, Malaysians now look forward to that D Day on May 9 when they will choose the 14th government that will administer the country for the next four or five years.

Nomination day Saturday was not without its dramas, with a few candidates being disqualified for reasons like bankruptcy, a fine by a court and failure to produce a pass to gain entry to submit the necessary at the nomination centre. The latter, while not a law, is an administrative requirement and one must say, such a minor lapse. In this case the would-be candidate claimed to have not been issued the pass despite his best attempts.

There were also a few who left their MyKad at home or did not have their party’s candidacy letter but were saved at the last minute when these documents were duly sent to them.

Understandably the Election Commission received some flak when it became known that one candidate who did not have that pass was in fact not stopped from entering the centre and that he was representing the ruling coalition was not lost on the detractors who went to town to accuse the agency of favouritism.

But a neutral person who uses common-sense would probably counter that by asking why disqualify only six candidates when you could have done a number on 20 or 30 or even more to favour one party? After all there are a total of about 2,000 candidates to choose from.

Just go to court to challenge; ultimatum so unnecessary

ecCrucially candidates who have been disqualified have the option of going to court to challenge the validity of the decisions. Some would have noticed that there are differing legal opinions on the disqualifications so the best option would be to go to court, although this would cost money. Tian Chua, the PKR candidate for Batu, is doing it.

With this option available, there simply isn’t any need for anyone to issue an ultimatum to the EC. But this is what the PKR’s Dr. S. Streram of the Rantau state seat has done, giving the commission until 5pm Wednesday to rectify his disqualification or hel’ll go to court. Streram and his two agents were denied entry into the nomination centre when they could not produce the required identification or pass.

One of the latest hot news is on the decision to cut out the faces of some personalities from posters and billboards or to dismantle the billboards due to a breach of some of the EC’s regulations.

Honestly, there are simply too many rules and administrative requirements, although a candidate who has decided to contest shouldn’t be grumbling about this if he fails to adhere. While they can be a pain in the neck, rules are there for a reason.

But if the EC can’t enforce most of them, it again becomes the brunt of cynicism. The rules become a farce.

The regulation governing when party flags should be displayed all over the country is one. You saw these flags everywhere even before nomination day.

Flight meant for Singapore but went to Langkawi?

One other news hogged the limelight when opposition politician Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad claimed that sabotage was at play when the private jet hired from VistaJet could not fly to Langkawi before nomination day due to a problem with a tyre.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and Vista Jet have issued statements to deny this was so but Mahathir insists there was sabotage.

His latest retort says no alternative was offered to him either by CAAM or VistaJet.

This is definitely not the responsibility of the CAAM but VistaJet’s statement said that indeed another aircraft was made available. But never mind that.

Mahathir says that after three friends could not make their jets available to him, another who had chartered an aircraft to Singapore managed to help him out. Those who know aviation rules would have picked up on this to again question Mahathir’s statement.

Now if that aircraft was charted to fly to Singapore, how could it change its flight plan to divert to Langkawi? For the uninitiated, to be able to fly within Malaysian air space you need the approval of the CAAM. No aircraft in the country can simply change its flight plan without first having it approved by the civil aviation authority. It’s as simple as that. So where was the sabotage, especially since one aircraft eventually took Mahathir to Langkawi? And of course he could have opted to fly commercial since there was ample time for him to be on the island for the nomination.

 

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About the author

Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.