Sarawak delineation: Why does Wan Ahmad want silence?

Rama Ramanathan

Can we be a developed nation if we are not transparent in the matter of elections?


I am glad that former EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar has weighed in on Bersih 2.0’s briefing of foreign diplomats about the redelineation in Sarawak. Wan Ahmad says delineation is an internal matter. He has expressed plainly the narrow thinking which characterizes the EC.

During his tenure in the EC Wan Ahmad’s constant refrain was that the EC’s power is derived from the government and that the EC is subservient to the government. The notion that the Constitution created the EC to be independent of the government is beyond Wan Ahmad and the EC.
The Constitution is a public document, the basis of all laws in our nation, and anything pertaining to elections is, by definition, a public matter.
Yet Wan Ahmad says “it’s an internal matter,” and shouldn’t be discussed with foreigners. How do we become a developed nation by 2020 if we don’t do things at least as well as others? How do we know how others do things if we don’t dialogue with them? Can we be a developed nation if we are not transparent in the matter of elections?
Why do we seek seats on the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council and leadership of ASEAN if we think exercise of the democratic process is “an internal matter”?
The EC is a national disgrace. The EC couldn’t even implement indelible ink in GE13, 62 years after indelible ink was first used in India’s first election. Wan Ahmad’s EC hasn’t held anyone accountable.
The People’s Tribunal on GE13, a group of eminent persons, rightly said: “Failure to get ink that is indelible is totally inexcusable, and would implicate some at high levels in the EC.” Wan Ahmad was at the second highest level in the EC, the only EC anywhere, anytime who couldn’t get indelible ink.
What the EC does is a public matter. What the EC does is covered in the national press. The EC’s abject failures are public knowledge, but are little reported and never analysed or challenged in the national press. The EC’s abject refusal to take responsibility is a matter of public record.