International electoral ‘rules of the game’ calls for a level playing field during any type of elections. A legal framework that limits access to the process and undermines the means to engage in a fair contest, or lacks some minimum rules conducting the conduct of all players in the process, is basically deemed as a tool to favour the re-election of dominant parties and politicians, and to exclude others.
These destabilizing electoral process factors are now being adopted by the Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem. As the polling day for the 2016 Sarawak state election gets closer, the immigration autonomy granted to Sarawak has been clearly misused.
Global Bersih’s President Colin Rajah stated that ‘we find it deplorable that the Chief Minister has stated that federal opposition politicians, NGO leaders and activists will remain on the immigration black list until the state elections are over. This action is a definitely used as a political tool to ensure that Sarawakians are mainly exposed to the ruling coalition parties of Barisan Nasional only.’
It is also very obvious that by refusing entry to the opposition members and non-government organization (NGO) leaders based in mainland Malaysia, Sarawakians will be given reduced opportunity to weigh and compare the opposition manifesto and candidates before they cast their votes on May 7th 2016.
Global Bersih Secretary Bala Chelliah is deeply concerned that ‘Opposition candidates will not be given an equal chance in the state election as their Federal leaders are not allowed into Sarawak to campaign on their behalf. Therefore, the state elections will clearly not be a Free and Fair Elections and this lack of election integrity in the State elections is forewarning of what will happen when the 14th General Elections are called.’
Those denied entry into Sarawak number 36 up to today and are all from mainland Malaysia and those banned are for example opposition state and federal legislators, NGO leaders from HAKAM, BERSIH 2.0, KOMAS, HINDRAF, prominent opposition party workers, prominent activists, Human Rights activists, Indigenous Rights activists, Social Activists and a Lecturer.
Global Bersih urges Chief Minister Adenan Satem to reverse all bans on the opposition and NGO leaders and activists to ensure that the Sarawak state election opposition candidates have access to their Federal leaders and supporters to carry out an effective campaign based on a level playing field.
For more information, please contact Global Bersih at: [email protected]