Resolve via dialogue: UBF
The Borneo Heritage Foundation’s United Borneo Front (UBF) committee has called for the restoration of public confidence in the electoral process ahead of the 13th General Elections.
Its Chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan also stressed that the Barisan Nasional (BN) will further erode public confidence in the system by taking a hard-handed tactic against the planned rally by the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) on July 9.
“We have to be logical. The UBF will not participate in rallies or marches if it merely pre-empts wrongdoing in the electoral process,” he said, at UBF tea parties at Kg Tempasuk and Kg Malangkap, here.
“The method we subscribe to in UBF is to exhaust every avenue of diplomatic negotiation without risking lives and jeopardising this country’s economic position with foreign investors.
“We will never subscribe to any group or organisation which will jeopardise the image of peace and economic strength that this country enjoys.
“Bersih’s eight demands are well-known and a diplomatic dialogue with the Prime Minister should have been the first step towards achieving an amicable solution to their problems.
“At this stage, there is no logic in marching for these demands and causing an unnecessary rift in the negotiation process between Bersih and the Government which also internationally embarrasses the Election Commission.
“We must give the EC a chance to show that the new system they have in place actually works instead of marching on the assumption that it will go wrong,” he said.
“By the same token, unless there is evidence that those arrested have actually violently threatened the security of the entire nation or broken any laws, we should not arrest people on the assumption that they plan to join a rally without a permit.
“A crime contains two parts, the actual act of doing something illegally and the intention to do so. The rally has not happened either and we run the risk of losing foreign investors if we give the international community an impression that this country can’t sit down and discuss the eight demands diplomatically,” he said.
“Right now, we’re scaring citizens and foreigners unnecessarily and jeopardising Malaysia’s economic position.”
He said if there is evidence of violence and planned violence, then let the public know so that people who are arrested are fairly judged and that this no longer becomes an issue of human rights but an issue of crime, terrorism and national security.
“If there is no violence or planned violence against the public, the international community will question Malaysia’s commitment to international human rights standards which we subscribe to in the United Nations and the Commonwealth.
“This matter is now very delicate and all eyes of the international community and the nation are now focused on our Prime Minister and the ruling government.
“This will be the litmus test ahead of the 13th General Elections,” he said.
“We are aware of the many problems which plague our electoral system including the worries the public have over phantom voters, duplicated identities and foreigners with legalised documents.
“What we need from the Government is proof from international experts that the biometric system will clean up these highlighted problems and will not indirectly confirm and legalise the identities of any alleged dubious voter.
“We need to know how many and which countries have used this system effectively without problems of fraud. The issue of foreigners having legalised documents to allow them to enjoy the same rights as citizens in the electoral process is an age-old worry for the people of Sabah.
“When they queue up for their turn to vote and notice foreigners in their queues with non-Malaysian accents, behaviours or obvious foreign cultural connections, it is very hard for Sabahans to believe that the identity documents held by such people are genuinely Malaysian,” he said.
Kitingan said that in this respect, in addition to the biometric system, the UBF would suggest that all voters show their identity cards and their original birth certificates when casting their votes.
“The computerised system should also show warning signs if an address contains more than the usual number of residents in accordance with the last census.”
He also stated that the UBF has made a call in the past to allow all Malaysians residing overseas to be allowed to vote at their nearest Malaysian embassies.
“If we can be sure that postal votes will not be abused by foreigners, then Malaysians should also be allowed to cast their votes through the post.
“Ultimately, we just want to be confident knowing that our laws and policies in Malaysia will be determined by Malaysian leaders loyal to their King and country and not by foreigners who may have breached our territorial integrity in the first place.”
“It is no longer good enough for any politician to dismiss that there are no foreigners registered in the system because the public will not believe them.
“They must rebuild public confidence by showing us that the system they have in place is foolproof and that there is no room for abuse or doubt and this must be done before we call for the next General Election,” he said.
He said people were now in fear that the Government would call for a state of emergency because this will reverse the clock and destroy investor confidence and deny the public the right to vote.
“Even tourists will stop coming here. We need to go for the general election and we need to do this as soon as possible without any more dirty tactics from anybody.
“The public is sick and tired of threats of marches, arrests, and the constant yo-yoing and second-guessing of when the election will be.
We must stop all this nonsense.
“We’re not dealing with a nation of toddlers here; we’re dealing with business people and civil servants and employees who just want to get on with it and live a decent life.
“So make a decision and announce the date for the 13th General Elections this year because by and large, everyone is now ready for it,” said Jeffrey.
Story Arrangement BY: Sabah Todays Admin
Sources: Daily Express and UBF
Picture: Google Image