KUALA LUMPUR: Election reform watchdog Bersih today announced that it would “name and shame” politicians and election candidates who do not support its campaign against political violence.
“We’ll name and shame them. Silence is not an option. Vote against the MPs who encourage political violence and those who are silent about it.
“We will tell the public not to vote for them,” Bersih co-chairman, S Ambiga, said at the launching of Bersih’s “Reject political violence” campaign today.
The campaign kicked off with Bersih co-chairman A Samad Said sending SMSes to PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad (PAS), Batu MP Tian Chua (PKR), Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang.
Besides the SMS, Bersih hopes to use the social media and by word of mouth to spread the message.
Ambiga also said that Bersih would accept any invitation to any political ceramah and also to speak up against political violence.
She listed nine instances of political violence that have occurred since January this year.
The election reform watchdog also announced that it would be releasing a code of conduct for candidates and rules of a caretaker government next week.
On another issue, Ambiga criticised Election Commission deputy chairman, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, for saying that the election would take place before the conclusion of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Sabah, and that the EC was powerless to act as the RCI has not ended.
He is also reported to have said that the EC could not do anything about the irregularities in the Sabah electoral list even though many immigrants have received identification cards.
Ambiga said that based on the Likas case in 1999, the EC is duty-bound to conduct a public inquiry on the matter.
(In that case, the Kota Kinabalu High Court ruled that the electoral roll for the Likas constituency was illegal and accordingly declared the polls null and void. As a result, former Sabah chief Minister Yong Teck Lee had to vacate the seat. But despite the ruling, the EC did not act to clean up the roll.)
“I do not accept what the deputy chairman of EC is saying. It is unacceptable that the EC can’t do anything until the RCI is over. The EC’s failure to maintain a [clean] electoral roll makes the electoral roll illegal,” she said.
Ambiga also condemned the violence against blogger Papagomo yesterday.
“We condemn any form of violence as we condemn his [Papagomo's] type of politics,” she said.
The blogger, whose real name is Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris, was beaten up by two unknown assailants and sustained minor head injuries yesterday afternoon.
He is known for publishing anti-Anwar Ibrahim materials on his blog. Anwar, who is PKR adviser and Permatang Pauh MP, filed a RM 100 million defamation suit against Papagomo on Thursday.