Remembering the 2007 Bersih rally

Five years after the historic first Bersih rally on Nov 10, 2007, EC’s shenanigans and electoral fraud still continue to haunt us. 

Selena Tay, FMT

Five years ago, exactly on a Saturday on Nov 10, scenes of the first Bersih rally took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur. The most famous scene was the one featuring the FRU (Federal Reserve Unit) truck firing the water cannon beneath the STAR-LRT line to Sri Petaling.

The crowd then was estimated to be around 30,000 to 40,000. Who at that time would have thought that there would be two more Bersih rallies to follow?

Be that as it may, that historic day on Nov 10 woke up some Malaysian voters just in time for the general election held on March 8, 2008 where for the first time in history BN lost their two-thirds majority and five states in the Peninsular although one of the states gained by the opposition, Perak, was subsequently recaptured by BN.

Still, from Nov 10 five years ago till to-date, things have hardly changed but instead have become worst as the electoral roll is now much dirtier despite the Parliamentary Select Committee being set up.

The BN government has also requested for an allocation of RM400 million to run the 13th general election whereas in the previous general election the allocation was RM203 million.

Opposition Leader and Permatang Pauh MP, Anwar Ibrahim has questioned the high allocation and also highlighted the issue of phantom voters in the ongoing Parliament sitting.

According to Anwar, those voters without application date (to be a voter) came up to 4,700 detected cases while 367 voters were granted approval to be inserted into the electoral roll even before they were born!

Anwar gave the example of a phantom voter with an identity card number of 7908 from Parit Buntar, Perak who was born on Aug 23, 1979 but applied to be a voter on Jan 15, 1950.

“This is a great record of a real phantom voter,” said Anwar in Parliament.

He also said there were 282 voters who were given voting rights on their date of birth for example one Nur Khalida of Serdang who was born on Oct 26, 1982 and the application to be a voter was made on the same day itself.

There is also the case of one Mohd Najib of Temerloh, Pahang who was born on Aug 18, 1979 and given his voting right on May 16, 1991, just three months short of his 12th birthday.

Approvals for voting rights given to secondary school students came up to 1,049 detected cases while approvals for those between age 17 to 20 totalled 12,000 detected cases and those between age 20 but less than 21 years of age came up to 186,000 detected cases.

Anwar also gave the example of a teenage voter named Rusiati of Kinabatangan in Sabah who was born on Feb 19, 1978 and became a voter on Nov 27, 1992 at the age of 14.

EC’s shenanigans

PAS MP, Dr. Mohd Hayati Othman for Pendang, Kedah complained that the Election Commission (EC) was slow to act when it comes to rectifying errors and only took action after being threatened with police reports.

He brought up the case of Zakaria Daud, a male voter transformed into a female named Rafzah Muhammad Nasib although the identity card number ended with 5589 (odd number for males). The address on this voter’s MyKad is in Pendang, Kedah but he/she has been transferred to Kelana Jaya in Selangor.

The PAS MP voiced his anger that not only has the voter been transformed but also transfered without his/her knowledge.