The evidence, please

Posted on 14 May 2013 – 10:03pm
Last updated on 14 May 2013 – 10:21pm

R. Nadeswaran


FELLOW columnist Halimah Mohd Said could not have put it better. On Monday she wrote on a worrying trend that has pervaded our society. It is worrying because we seem to have fallen for unproven and unsubstantiated allegations. We seem to be relying on hearsay and jumping to conclusions.

She wrote: “The trend now is to believe those who cry loudest for change. The oft-repeated phrase is ‘a picture tells a thousand words’. But few seem to care if the pictures are indeed authentic and not many are prepared to investigate if they could have been deliberately created by the ‘other’ side.

Nobody will admit that like the crime of corruption, fraud works both ways and can be committed by either side.”

At every turn, there’s a self-appointed referee, umpire or even an expert giving his or her two sen’s worth on the recently concluded election. As I sat to write this piece, a colleague walked up to my desk and volunteered his take: “My friends ‘apprehended’ five foreigners who tried to vote in Banting.”

“Really? What happened?”

“Oh! They handed them over to the police.”

“Was a police report lodged? How do you know they were foreigners? Did your friends have the authority to stop anyone from voting or to apprehend anyone?”
There was utter silence.

At a watering hole last week, a woman after her workout in the gym was holding court and telling endless stories of how fraud was perpetuated at the polls.
“Where is the evidence?” she was asked.

“So many photographs on Facebook.”

“But that is not evidence and anyone could be persuaded to pose for such photographs including the neighbourhood petrol pump attendant.”

Defeated by such a stand, the standard reply as if it was part of her S.O.P, came out like a recorded message in her brain: “You are all the same. All you journalists are Barisan supporters.”

How do you have a decent conversation when conclusions have been formed?

Then, there was this guy who talked about a blackout when ballot boxes were brought in at the Bentong counting centre but when told that the losing candidate, Wong Tuck himself had declared there was no disruption in electricity, the retort was: “I read on the internet.”

Not to be outdone, a Malaysian working for a foreign newspaper swaggered into the bar and made a declaration: “I just got a call from a contact in the war room. The PM wanted some Chinese names for the cabinet. I nominated So and So …”

Of course, this was met with disbelief and a barrage of abuses against the person that he had nominated. Is this the high point of naivety or a case of dropping names?

On Sunday night, a friend remarked that there were 150,000 people at the Kelana Jaya rally, 120,000 in Penang and 100,000 in Ipoh. Do numbers matter?

Aren’t we guided by the principle that we should not jump to conclusions without seeing the evidence before us? Over the past eight days, I’ve heard friends, acquaintances and even strangers telling me: “I heard this thing happened … ”

My next question has always been and will continue to be: “From whom? Did he or she witness the incident?”

While conceding that the electoral rolls need a massive clean-up, the relevant question is: If there were so many instances of fraud, why hasn’t anyone come forward with the evidence?

Having championed so many issues and having exposed scores of instances of fraudulent conduct especially in the use of public money, I would be happy to do the same when it comes to similar unacceptable conduct in the polls. The caveat is that such claims must be substantiated with evidence. Any takers?

R. Nadeswaran has had enough of the fraud claims and has made a genuine offer to champion the cause. Comments: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com


5 Responses to “CRIME & EVIDENCE”

  1. 1 Philip
    May 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    “While conceding that the electoral rolls need a massive clean-up, the relevant question is: If there were so many instances of fraud, why hasn’t anyone come forward with the evidence?”

    Yes, good question. In fact many have already come forward, and are willing to both sign affidavits and testify in open hearings. This will constitute PKR’s submission to dispute the announced results of GE13.

    If you would truly like to better understand the sheer extent of this alleged fraud and the huge obstacles to presenting ‘evidence’ in the way you want it to appear, you should get in touch with NGOs like Bersih that are currently working on this now, or YB Rafizi Ramli who is preparing PKR’s brief on this matter.

    Please understand this though: both civil society and the Opposition are swimming against the current in this effort because there is EVERY incentive for both SPR and Umno/BN to not cooperate or even hinder this evidence-gathering process.

    It’s about time you starting giving a little benefit of doubt to the victims rather than the perpetrators with their hands on the levers of power.

  2. 2 Thumb Logic
    May 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Hey Philip,
    With all due respect the evidence is with SPR.

  3. 3 Philip
    May 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Thumb Logic,

    Yes, and if we can get the SPR to open that evidence to impartial scrutiny, I’m VERY sure all dispute about the legality of the official GE13 results will be cleared up nearly immediately.

    But we know THAT’s not going to happen, so civil society and the Opposition have to gather that evidence entirely on own efforts, with the help of concerned citizens.

    Now do you see the huge challenge facing the victims of this alleged electoral fraud?

  4. 4 ninitalk
    May 21, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Hi Sir Philip & Thumb Logic

    I’m all for impartial citizens and non-partisan citizen movements
    representing right-thinking Malaysians to right the wrongs
    in society and to rightfully lend their expertise to government
    departments and agencies who are ineffective.

    If SPR has been ineffecient or has erred in carrying out its
    election responsibilities, the necessary reports must be lodged
    by the individuals who discovered the anomalies for them to
    be investigated. It is not right that the agency and its leadership
    are slandered or taunted by the likes of people like Rafizi or groups
    like Bersih even before anything is ascertained.

    Sir Philip and Thumb Logic -if you and I are serious about our
    citizen concerens we should be speaking up for our selves, not
    on behalf of any party with obvious vested interests.

    Salams and PEACE


  5. 5 Thumb Logic
    May 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    The SPR is the last bastion for the promotion of democracy in any country. Once SPR goes so does the nation goes. It therefore the incumbent duty of SPR to conduct the election in a fair and free manner. Inconsistent application of the law is not allow. Pardon my grammar. There is no need for us to speak up. The laws are there and the constitution provides for the SPR to perform it duties without fear or favour.

    This business on not wanting to play by the book is not necessarily a Third World problem. In the area of finance and banking the reluctance of banks too big to fail and too big to jail in the so-called First World to play by the book has brought financial and banking system in that area to its knees. Governments had to come up with untested Quantitative Easing to bailout the banks. It ok if you have the fat to spare. But those who do not have the fat have been sent into a tail spin from which they may never be able to recover.

    My point in saying this is to underline the importance and the need for all of us to play by the book and to ensure that that is consistent application of the book. Man is the only creature in the animal kingdom with the brains to say one thing do another and think about something else. Even the world of sports is being threatened today because those with unlimited funds think that they can distort the scale of justice by adding weights to the side they want.

    My hope is that this nation will be run in accordance to the constitution and the consistent application of the rule of law and the book.

    Hey, Philip, please read in-between the lines. I am on your side.

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