Tuesday, December 07, 2004


It was reported yesterday that the Ukrainian Supreme Court on Friday has decided to invalidate the results of the recent Ukrainian Presidential Elections thus paving way for fresh elections. It is interesting to note that the courts decision was merely in the interest of protecting the rights of electors and ensuring that a fair and transparent election process was conducted.

I’m sure the decision was received well by most Ukrainian and those outside. Knowing that there is an independent institution always eager and willing to listen and protect the democratic rights of individuals is definitely a big relieve.

One wonders if Malaysians could rely on the courts to protect their rights if similar incident occurs here. In such disputes judges are expected to perform their duty without fear or favor and most importantly with the interest of democracy as their top and foremost priority.

Of course through the years we have seen many election petitions being brought to the election courts here. Some went down well with the electors and some just could not be diluted at all. For instance I remember once in the 80’s in Johor where an election judge nullified the results of a state seat and called for fresh elections simply because the manner in which ballot boxes were transported as highlighted in the case created doubt and likelihood of being tampered with. In this case the judge imposed high standard of transparency as a criteria of a free and fair elections. But we have also seen a judge disqualifying a successful candidate in a Parliamentary seat in KL in the 90’s and instead of calling for fresh elections, robbed the rights of the voters by declaring the candidate with the second highest votes as winner (in this case there was also another independent candidate).

Therefore we are still lagging behind in terms of independent judicial review of an election process unlike voters in Ukraine and even some third world countries like India where the courts and the election commission are among the most independent in the region.

Unfortunately of late new and abnormal standards are being introduced here which would further jeopardize the already tainted image of the courts. In one recent case, the presiding judge agreed that there were irregularities in the voting process of one parliamentary and state seat in Selangor. However instead of calling for fresh elections he refused to accept the petition on grounds that despite the irregularity the petitioner failed to proof that the irregularity said would influence the final results?

I’m sure if such petition were to appear in Ukraine or even in India immediate fresh elections would be have been summoned. Malaysia Boleh!

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