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Feb 5, 2008

March for freedom


With the general election around the corner, many Malaysians have expressed concerned about the integrity of the electoral process. Subramaniam Pillay, for his part, recalls how delighted he was to participate with his better half in a significant event in the history of civil society in Malaysia – the Bersih rally. Here are his eye-witness impressions of a day to remember.

I first voted in the 1974 elections. Even at that time, I found the electoral process to be very unfair to the opposition parties in terms of access to the media, prohibition of public rallies after 1974 and the abuse of state machinery for the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) election campaign. In short, it was not and never has been a level playing field when it comes to elections in the so-called Malaysian democracy. Over the years, the election process has become even less fair and free.

Given the Alliance and BN government’s earlier achievements in generating economic growth, I suspect the BN would have won all the past general elections with a simple majority even if the elections were free and fair. Thus, it can only be the greed for absolute power that has driven the BN to resort to dirty tricks to win the elections. more...


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