Election watchdog Bersih will set up a people's tribunal to investigate the extent of electoral fraud and irregularity in yesterday's 13th general election, its co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said today.
"Bersih will take steps to convene a People's Tribunal to consider the evidence that we have and will receive, and to hear from the witnesses," Ambiga told a press conference this afternoon.
The tribunal will call those with first-hand information from the ground on irregularities and electoral fraud, as well as the candidates, to tell their experiences, she said.
"The tribunal will comprise eminent personalities from within the country and outside, with a minimum of three in the panel," she said.
Ambiga said Bersih, through its Pemantau initiative, has been made aware of incidents of violation of election laws, electoral fraud, phantom voters and irregularities in the voting process.
Legitimacy of some results questionable
“The extent of these reports have led us to question the legitimacy of some of the results. We have no doubt that the election was not clean and fair," she said.
"Bersih is withholding recognition of the new government that will be formed," Ambiga said, adding this is until the group has the time to study the report done by the tribunal.
Bersih is calling for a boycott of newspapers New Straits Times,Utusan Malaysia, The Star and Berita Harian, which it accused of "aiding and abetting the uneven playing field" for the next one month, she said.
“The stance (of the newspapers) during the campaign was wholly unacceptable in a democratic society. I think we need to express our disgust," she said, adding that being the fourth estate, the press has a duty to defend justice for society.
Bersih also called on Malaysians to wear an item of black clothing for the next one month, as a sign of protest against the election fraud.
However, Ambiga said, Bersih "has no plan" for a Bersih 4.0.
"There is no plan for a rally. We need to do the fact-finding first," she said, referring to the people's tribunal.
She said the people coming out to vote took to defend the integrity of the electoral process into their own hands, a task that supposedly lies in the hands of the relevant authority.
As such, she renewed Bersih's call for all the members of Election Commission to resign immediately, for the EC has failed to ensure a clean and fair election.
"The people have moved forward, but unfortunately the system has not. I have never seen such blatant instances of fraud," Ambiga said.
She said it would be difficult for the EC to ignore the instances of fraud as there were a number of pictures and video clips which Bersih would compile as evidence.
'Najib may face pressure'She had expected a "very close fight" between the BN and Pakatan in this general election and therefore the BN’s winning of 133 parliamentary seats was beyond her expectation.
She believes electoral fraud, an uneven playing field and the whole process since first day of the election campaign led to a change in final result.
Ambiga also opined that BN chairman Najib Abdul Razak may face pressure within his party, Umno, for him to step down, since he fared worse than his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Pemantau was the 13th general election monitoring team that was jointly set up by Bersih, Pusat Komuniti Masyarakat (Komas) and Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel).
Also present at the press conference were Pemantau coordinator Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Komas executive director Arul Prakkash, Bersih co-chairperson A Samad Said and Bersih steering committee members Maria Chin Abdullah, Wong Chin Huat and Andrew Khoo.