Najib dropped a major bombshell that Umno is planning to file at least 50 election petitions for parliamentary and state seats with another 37 under consideration (read here). This will beat Pakatan Rakyat’s 31 petitions being planned – PKR 20, PAS 8 and DAP 3. Filing petitions is an expensive affair and almost all the time, these petitions are thrown out because of technicality without considering their merits.
It is quite understandable for PR to want to file the petitions because they claim that they have been cheated of the results. It will be really awkward if they didn’t file enough petitions to demonstrate they can win at least 112 seats for a simple majority. Hence, the plan for 31 petitions. The #Black505 rallies have been conducted to expound on the displeasure of losing because of irregularities, foul play and gerrymandering which consequently had demanded for the dismissal of the SPR’s Chairman and Deputy and to restructure SPR to be placed under the jurisdiction of the Parliament, the original place in the Federal Constitution prior to the many amendments made over the years.
Now, for Umno and not even BN to file petitions will be surprising. To top it all, Najib said that Umno will file at least 50 petitions while having 37 more under consideration. This is the surprise of surprise. Just what is Umno displeased about the GE13 which they have never raised since the results were announced on the early morning of 6 May. They contended that everything was clean and fair and that all must accept the results and Najib called for a national reconciliation (besides blaming a Chinese Tsunami for losses of seats).
The question on everybody’s shocked minds is what points will Umno be raising for the Election Petition of a GE13 which they kept claiming was free and fair. Very strange indeed. Will Umno actually file those petitions or if this is just a Public Relations gimmick will be left for Malaysians to wonder for now. By 12 June, all parties must file their petitions with the High Court.
Now, when Umno declares intentions to file such a large number of petitions, are they unhappy with the SPR, the conduct of PR during the elections or some unknown reasons?
There are very specific areas that a party can file a petition and dissatisfaction with the SPR is not one of them. The areas allowable must also be demonstrated with a) evidence and b) sufficient to overturn the results of the seat in questioned. Consequently, most petitions are defeated on technicalities rather than on merit.
Looking at how challenging it is to file Election Petitions to overturn the results of GE13, perhaps it is only a moral exercise to show that the parties are obliging the law rather than using illegal means to obtaining seats. PR must admit that BN and specifically Umno can play the General Election game much better than they can. BN has the experience, the machinery and the money to do everything they want to ensure victory. The only question to BN is how much of a victory but never a loss at this point in time.
PR claims the votes of the majority and true enough that 52% of the popular votes went to them. They can claim a moral victory that the majority of Malaysians stand with PR.
Umno claims the victory with 133 seats which is more than sufficient to form the new Government. That is the name of the GE game. It is about seats, not popular votes. Clearly, if the GE is conducted again, BN will still win the Parliamentary seats required to form the Government. The reason is that the way the constituencies are divided is to favor the incumbent party and making it virtually impossible for the Opposition to win at all. All the rural seats will always exceed the urban seats which PR appears to dominate.
Hence, no amount of Election Petitions will matter. Unless the following are fixed, PR or any other party will never stand a fair chance to reach Putrajaya to replace Umno/BN.
1. SPR change of heads
2. SPR to report directly to Parliament
3. Re-delineation must be fair to 1 man, 1 vote equivalence, one basis for Peninsula, one basis for East Malaysia
4. Election processes must be tightened to be foolproof
5. SPR reps must be properly trained to be qualified and fair
6. Media must be allowed to freely report news on all parties and provide fair access
7. Postal Votes for Malaysians residing in Malaysia be abolished
8. Early Voting must be free and fair, and counted on the same day votes are casted