By popular demand (ahem), I am translating the letter to our supreme ruler the King, for the benefit of our esteemed brethren who don't speak Malay. :)
1) BERSIH is a committee comprising civil community organisations and political parties with the main purpose of demanding free and fair elections in Malaysia.
2) Only through free and fair elections can Malaysian citizens determine their futire and expect those in public office to be responsible and efficient. As long as the citizens are powerless to remove the wicked from ruling the country, there is no hope of upholding the constitution, protecting fundamental human rights, enforce a good government administration and encourage continuous national development in the face of politicians with personal interests conflicting with national needs.
3) It is unfortunate for Malaysia that in spite of 50 years of independence, it has failed to conduct free and fair elections. This has even been admitted by the Chairman of the Elections Committee. After the general elections in March 2004 which has been defiled by serious controversies, he has agreed to public demands for free election. But no investigation was carried out.
4) Questions surface over the compromised handling of elections, especially concerning the supreme power of the ruling body. A situation like this, left unchecked will have serious implications for the future. This can be seen in countries like Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan. Therfore, BERSIH finds it necessary for all Malaysians to join forces to effect extensive change in the coming elections.
5) In the long term, BERSIH is confident that all eight aspects should be researched and renewed in its entirety.
a. Election system
i) Correct the imbalance between the constituency and representatives standing for election, where a vote of 64% can be translated to 91% of chairs for the ruling party. This is due to the basic principal of ‘First-Past-The-Post’ and constituency manipulation.
ii) Introduce a system which states all party representation so the minimum 30% female representation is maintained.
iii) Reintroduce local elections more fairly, including more opportunities for minorities.
b. Election governance
i) Amend the Elections Commision which has obviously failed to act as an independent institution moving in the direction of multi-party representation as practised by democratic countries.
ii) Laws pertaining to international and local observers.
c. Naming of candidates and parties - requiring amendments or abolishments:
i) Power to make decisions simply. This is seen in Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC);
ii) Unfair decisions of Election Officers which illegitimise candidacy of the Opposition
iii) Controversial clause that allows last-minute withdrawals which result in highly suspicious no-contest victories.
iv) Highest election deposits payments in the world
d. Election campaigns
i) Set a campaigning period longer than the 8 days which from previous elections has proved meaningless
ii) Freedom of speech and to meet as written in the constitution
iii) Effective monitoring in campaigning costs to curb corruption
iv) Consideration of public support for campaigning costs for minorities
i) Review current laws which allow monopolisation of print and electronic media by the ruling party, Barisan National.
ii) Laws that enable all political parties to have broadcast access to TV and radio.
iii) Laws to defend the rights of all political parties and their representatives and to address any accusation and criticism through media.
f. Temporary government or Caretaker
i) Barring the old government from making any policies affecting development when Parliament or State is in recess.
ii) Ensuring usage of national resources and instruments to win elections is a crime
iii) Registration of voters should be subject to judicial checks.
g. Voter Registration
i) Register should be updated and accurate to to avoid involuntary rejections of legitimate voters and presence of phantom voters.