Bar Council hypocritical Bersih stand
By Lukman Sheriff
Recently the bar council concluded its election of council members. I think it’s about time the public know what transpired in its electoral process and what is its public standing. Please note this is not my stand on the electoral process as per my previous write.
Before proceeding let us be clear on the Bar’s stand on our electoral process. Essentially the same as Bersih. Ambiga was the former president of Bar Council headed Bersih then.
Now what is the Bersih/bar stand? One of their biggest criticism of the public electoral process is, according to them, our non transparent and abusive process of the postal voting system. According to them, there have been many instances where someone votes for the other in the army/police. This is wrong according to them. It lacks transparency. They complain they want to witness the voting process at the army camp. The EC were pressured and accordingly changed their methods. Now each political parties can witness by themselves how the postal votes are prepared and sent to the postal voters, how postal voters cast their votes and how postal votes are being counted and tabulated. At all times they were afforded the right to witness and object. This is the standard they demanded of EC.
Now what about the Bar own electoral standard. Apparently they are exempted from all this. Dia orang kan special. All votes are postal votes. And there is no process of completely witnessing all the electoral process and being afforded the opportunity to object. Are you sure? Let’s compare.
1) Bersih’s stand is to reduce postal voting. They don’t trust postal votings. Bar Council voting procedure are ALL by postal voting. No exception.
2) Bersih’s stand, it’s wrong for others to vote for another in postal voting. For the Bar electoral process, there’s no such requirement. It’s immaterial. It gives the postal votes to the members and it’s up to the members do what they want to do with it. They can junk it in the bin or even ask their pets to mark it for them (figurative expression showing immateriality). Public servants, they don’t trust and all must be done before and accounted by Bersih/bar.
3) Under EC/public electoral process, candidates are allowed to witness how the postal votes are prepared and put in a postal bag to be delivered to the relevant destination. If there’s any hanky panky, the candidates (or its reps) can object. In the bar process, this is not made available. Everyone must trust how the bar does it.
4) For the public electoral process, Bersih wants to witness the casting of votes themselves. They are not happy if anyone send in by post. So now they can witness and object during the casting. For the Bar process, this is suddenly not important. You just send back your reply. Or anyone can send it on your behalf. It’s fine and acceptable.
5) For the public, once casting of votes is done, the postal bags are brought to the counting place. There the postal bags are opened before the eyes of the candidates or its representatives. It’s counted before them. If there’s any problem, they are afforded the right to object. This is the EC standard.
For the bar council, candidates must sign certain letter of undertaking failing which they cannot witness the voting process at all. If they agree to sign, only then are they allowed they to witness the counting but even then through live streams. Now apparently the candidates are saying that the live streams covers only certain parts of the counting. Say there’s 8 tables for counting, the live streaming is only for certain tables. The rest apparently you must trust the work of the election officials. So there’s no right to observe and witness the entire process what more to formulate an objection.
You decide which has a higher standard of integrity of electoral process. The Bar or EC? Now where is Bersih on this? Oh, they’re related so they won’t make noise. But doesn’t it matter to Bersih that their members be elected according to the standard that they demand of EC? No. They trust each other kan? A higher standard is applicable only to the public but not them. How their members are elected are immaterial. Dia orang kan a different class of people. “Do what I say and not what I do”. Public standards is to ensure certain parties kalah aje. Those they trust can win by whatever standard.
Feel free to share to inform others.
PS. If Bersih/bar argues they’re restricted by rules, process and regulations, please bear in mind that when they criticize EC, this limitation is immaterial. Lame excuse according to them. But of course, they are a different category of people and such public standards they demanded doesn’t apply to them. Equality before the law mah!
Lukman Sheriff is a prolific writer and a well-known Facebook personality who writes extensively on legal matters pertaining to Islamic issues and Muslim interests.A lawyer by profession, Lukman Sheriff is also a member of iPeguam.