KUALA LUMPUR – February 26, 2018: Talk of the coming 14th general elections (GE14) as being the dirtiest in Malaysian history has resurfaced yet again, this time intertwined with the demand to have more foreign observers allowed in.
While those who make the call said it was crucial for the Election Commission to do so in order to prevent voting fraud, a political analyst described the demand as unnecessary because the EC has always invited foreign observers to monitor the elections.
To date the EC has invited 14 foreign observers for GE14.
This led to a barrage in social media which dared the EC to prove its transparency by allowing foreign observers to scrutinise the polls.
“As I recall, we even had representatives from several Commonwealth countries to monitor our general elections,” said associate professor Dr. Mohd. Azizudin Md. Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia.
Azizudin was also skeptical there would be less sore loser complaints even if there were plenty of foreign observers.
“We had foreign observers during the last elections and yet the opposition still complained so I think those who lose in GE14 will still cry foul,” remarked Azizudin.
Geo-strategist Dr. Azmi Hassan of the Perdana School and Geospatial Institute corroborates Azizudin’s contention, adding that Malaysia has been allowing foreign observers since independence.
“It’s good to have observers for GE14 but I’m quite sure the observers will be accused as being biased,” wrote Azmi in an email.
He, however, was astonished that the claim about a dirty election has been made even before the dates have been announced.
“The opposition is making this accusation as if it already knows it will loose big and this kind of perception is not good for Pakatan Harapan’s image,” Azmi added.
According to a report by polling agency Merdeka Centre, the EC has already invited representatives from Asean countries to observe the elections.
Although the report said that the last election was partially free and not fair, the verdict was made based on technical issues rather than fraud.
A slightly similar view on the previous GE was also made by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute’s Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS).
However, unlike Merdeka Centre, CPPS clarified that there was not enough evidence to support the claim on a massive deployment of phantom voters which helped Barisan Nasional to win.
The then-Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr had also corroborated CPPS’ verdict on this.
During GE13, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) claimed that thousands of phantom voters – supposedly 40, 000 Bangladeshis – were given identification cards to allow them to vote.
Bersih has however never proved its claim.