EC taken to task over Lajim Ukin’s Sandakan by-election observer status

EC taken to task over Lajim Ukin’s Sandakan by-election observer status

PETALING JAYA: Election watchdog Bersih 2.0 has taken the Election Commission to task over the decision to appoint politicians such as Lajim Ukin as an election observer. He was spotted wearing the EC’s election observer tag and T-shirt in Sandakan yesterday.

“EC has to explain on what basis were they appointed or was there a failure in their SOP to screen applicants as election observers,” the electoral reform group said in a statement today, in response to pictures of Lajim Ukin wearing the EC’s official tee-shirt and tag for observers.

Lajim recently defected to Bersatu from the now defunct Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah.

Bersih questioned whether the EC had a policy on whether active politicians could be appointed as election observers and if there was a clear standard operating procedure to vet those who applied to be observers.

It was of the view that election observers should be individuals or organisations who were not aligned to any political parties and should not be active politicians, “let alone be from contesting parties”.

This is in line with maintaining the standard set out in the Declaration of Global Principles for Non-Partisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organisations (Venice Commission).

“Observers must be non-partisan as they have to evaluate the overall integrity of the election process. Their reports can add or diminish legitimacy to the result of elections,” said the watchdog.

The Sandakan parliamentary by-election on May 11 will see a five-cornered fight involving DAP’s Vivian Wong, PBS’ Linda Tsuen and three independents

The seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent, Stephen Wong Tien Fatt last month.

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