Press Statement, 30 April 2013
Reject Racism in Election Campaigns
PEMANTAU expresses the utmost concern over reports of racist and defamatory material circulating through SMSes and leaflets. On the 26th of April, one of our observers in Kuala Lumpur reported that she and her husband received an SMS from an unknown person with the following text:
Jadi kaya semua cina. Kacau hak Melayu. Kerajaan BN takut pada cina. Melayu yg susah! Mari kerjakan cina!! Sebarkan SMS. Seumah ke masa hadapan
On 29th April, PEMANTAU also received a complaint from two individuals who also reported being sent racist SMSes by unknown person or persons, and subsequently made a police report about it. One of the complainants received an SMS identical to the one sent to the PEMANTAU observer, but the other received the following:
Saya kena buang kerja pasal cina tunjuk kuasa. Hantar cina ke Lahad Datu atau bawa kiram ajar cina!! Melayu jadi kuli ditempat sendiri! Apa nak jadi? SMS kawan2
We were also notified by observers in Johor of the circulation of defamatory leaflets featuring DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, alleging that he was responsible for the 13 May riots in 1969. In one incident recorded by an observer, a group of individuals wearing Barisan Nasional shirts were seen distributing the leaflets at a night market in Gelang Patah during a walkabout by Lim Kit Siang and PAS candidate Salahuddin Ayub.
PEMANTAU stresses that the circulation of these material could be construed as promoting ill-will and hostility, which is an offence under Section 4A of the Election Offences Act 1954. The material is not only criminal but abhorrent in any civilised society. We welcome the swift condemnation by the caretaker Chief Minister of Johor, Abdul Ghani Othman, on the use of racist sentiments and similar flyers being circulated on Lim Kit Siang. However, investigation needs to be carried out into the perpetrators.
Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. We note that other observers have recorded the use of sentiments that could be construed as promoting intolerance between different ethnic and religious communities, in two separate occasions in Selayang, on 25th and 27th April.
In addition, our observers in Johor also recorded an incident where Pakatan Rakyat campaign workers were threatened with violence when they distributed leaflets in a village in Gelang Patah, on 28th April. A group of youths on motorbikes, wearing BN shirts, harassed and threatened them into leaving.
Violence and the promotion of ill-will and hostility were not the only offences observed by PEMANTAU. At a ceramah on 27th April in Gombak, the Barisan Nasional candidate for Batu Caves, N. Rawisandran, allegedly promised that a plot of land would be given to a gurdwara if he won. We note that under section 10 of the Election Offences Act, the offering of valuable consideration in exchange for votes constitutes as bribery. While it is up to the authorities to investigate the candidate, this is at the very least unethical campaigning.
Treating, or the giving of food, drink, refreshment or provision for the purpose of influencing voters, remains rife despite it being an offence under section 8. Furthermore, PEMANTAU has observed over the campaign period that incidences of treating have taken place within public or government property, including schools, such as the 28th April luncheon with the caretaker Prime Minister in SJK(C) San Yuk in the Parliamentary constituency of Selayang.
We would also like to remind candidates and political parties on all sides that minors should not be used for campaigning purposes, including as entertainers and performers in cultural or social events where election campaigning is taking place.
This statement highlights the results of election observation in the period between 25th and 29th April, as well as complaints received on electoral roll irregularities and election misconduct. We urge the public to also submit a formal complaint to the Election Commission, and if necessary, make a police report, should they come across electoral roll irregularities and election misconduct.
PEMANTAU Pilihan Raya Rakyat (PEMANTAU) comprises of:
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)
Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (MAFREL)
For further enquiries, please contact the BERSIH 2.0 secretariat
at 03-77723275 or 019-4380428.