(The Malaysian Insider) - Utusan Malaysia has accused Pakatan Rakyat (PR) of being insincere in its pursuit of electoral reforms, saying today the pact was more interested in taking to the streets in a show of force.
In an commentary titled “Why still not satisfied with the PSC!”, the Malay daily’s columnist Azman Anuar claimed the opposition lawmakers had only kicked up a fuss over the report produced by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reform in order to come up with excuses to put on a show of strength in the upcoming Bersih 3.0 rally.
He pointed out that the PSC was established as a response to the Bersih 2.0 rally in July last year and a third rally would render the reform committee’s efforts a “waste”.
“Or were PKR, DAP and PAS really playing politics the whole time,” said the commentary.
“Not sincere and committed to improving the electoral process. Intentionally raising trivial issues and sensationalising it so the Bersih 3.0 rally in Dataran Merdeka will go on to gain public sympathy.”
Azman said the Barisan Nasional-led (BN) government should not have bothered to “waste time and energy” with the PSC as the opposition would never be satisfied.
“What they want must be fulfilled, if not they will take to the streets in a demonstration,” he wrote.
Azman also suggested that parties involved in the last Bersih rally had committed treason.
“The public should understand that Bersih 3.0 is to show the strength of the opposition alliance, apart from damaging the country’s image abroad,” he said.
The commentary concluded with a call for authorities to not be afraid to take stern action against Bersih 3.0 rally-goers.
The nine-member PSC had included three lawmakers from the federal opposition — PKR’s Azmin Ali, the DAP’s Anthony Loke and PAS’s Dr Hatta Ramli — all of whom had objected to four of the 22 recommendations put forward in the final report.
The PSC had submitted a 22-point proposal in Parliament on Tuesday but the Dewan Rakyat Speaker rejected an application by the panel’s three PR members to include a minority report along with it.
The minority report was to detail the views of the trio, who had rejected four of the 22 recommendations put forward.
The opposition lawmakers had also complained that the PSC had not been thorough in its recommendations as it had failed to touch on specific issues of electoral discrepancies such as irregularities found in the current electoral roll.
Bersih 2.0 had amassed a crowd of thousands for its second rally last July 9, demanding the government accede to its eight demands for free and fair elections, including the cleaning of the electoral roll; reforms to postal voting; the use of indelible ink; free and fair access to media; a minimum 21-day campaign period; the strengthening of public institutions; a stop to political corruption; and an end to “dirty” politics.