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People's tribunal opens in Malaysia

Independent panel to probe alleged election fraud

People's tribunal opens in Malaysia
Mike MacLachlan, London

September 18, 2013

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A self-styled “people’s tribunal” opens in Malaysia on Wednesday to investigate allegations of poll fraud in the country’s May 5 general election.

The tribunal will be chaired by a Kenyan expert in constitutional law, Yash Pal Ghai, a former United Nations special representative in Cambodia who has also been involved in the peace process in the Philippines.

Among the panellists are Ramlan Surbakti, former deputy chairman of the Indonesian election commission, and Dr Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia.

Leading the investigating team of more than 30 lawyers is Prof Gurdial Singh, law professor at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

The tribunal would not be “an authorities-bashing event” but would “present evidence in a responsible manner,” said Ivy Josiah, a member of the organising committee.

In the months since May, Malaysian courts have dismissed several petitions alleging electoral fraud but the electoral reform group Bersih says the rulings are disputed and believes the tribunal will “finally offer Malaysians an unbiased, non-partisan judgment of the election results.”

The Malaysian police and the electoral commission have refused to take part in the tribunal. It has no basis under Malaysian law, the election commission said.

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