Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last chance for Mafrel to show its commitment

Last chance for Mafrel to show its commitment

Posted on March 29, 2011, Tuesday

KUCHING: Malaysians for Free and Fair Election (Mafrel) has to prove its commitment and seriousness during the coming Sarawak state polls if it wants to remain as the country’s official independent election observer.

Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said although Mafrel in the past had failed to fulfill the terms and conditions set by EC it is given a second and last chance in the coming state election.

He said even though at one stage EC had stopped appointing Mafrel as the official independent election observer it was recently reinstated after it made an appeal to the authority.

“Yes, Mafrel had been appointed to be the official independent observer in several general and by-elections of the country in the past but they had failed to submit any observation report to EC.

“There are 18 major and minor terms and conditions accredited observers have to fulfill where one of the preconditions is that after every by-election they have to submit a written observation report to EC and this had never been done by Mafrel,” said Wan Ahmad.

He said among the important conditions to be fulfilled by any organisation accredited as official election observer were that they must be non-partisan and should not issue any media or press statements.

“We will immediately stop our accreditation for any of their accredited members who make media or press statements. This is because the duty given to them is to monitor and report to EC the election weakness and process.

“Their feedback in the form of report is to help us in our postmortem so as to improve our electoral process and election activities in the future,” he disclosed.

Speaking to the press at a news conference here yesterday, he said Mafrel was reinstated as the official observer for the coming Sarawak state election and this would be the last chance for the body to prove its seriousness and commitment.

“If they still fail to submit their written observation report to us or fail to fulfil any other terms and conditions we will not appoint them anymore. We will look for another NGO that is truly committed and serious as official election observer,” he added.

He also said that there were a few NGOs in Sarawak interested to become observers in the coming state election but accreditation was only given to Mafrel being a nationwide organisation.

“Many are requesting to be accredited as official observer but only one was approved because we don’t want them to have conflicting interests.

“So for those that want to participate in election observation they have to incorporate into Mafrel so that it will be easier for us to monitor them,” he stressed.

He explained that they would be meeting Mafrel today to ensure that the organisation will follow the stipulated terms and conditions.

He said, among other things, they want to make it very clear that Mafrel is an independent NGO appointed by EC to observe elections and it has no authority to take any action against election offenders.

“Its role is just as an independent observer. It cannot disrupt the process of the election and it does not have the authority,” he said.


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