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Thursday, July 25, 2013
Bersih names 3 locals, 3 foreigners as People's Tribunal members
KUALA LUMPUR (July 25): The six members, three locals and three from
overseas, of the Bersih People's Tribunal were named today by the organising
committee for the People's Tribunal.
Stating that members of the tribunal were picked through a process, Bersih
steering committee co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan highlighted that all
individuals were "people that shared a strong commitment to the rule of
The People's Tribunal, comprised those with diverse backgrounds who
according to Ambiga will be able to make independent decisions, was established
to ascertain whether the 13th general election was conducted in a free and fair
Chairing the tribunal is Yash Pal Ghai,a reputable expert in constitutional
law, who has extensive experience including being the former head of the
constitution advisory support unit of the UN Development Programme in Nepal,
former special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cambodia on human
rights and former chairperson of the Kenya Constitution Review Commission and
Kenya National Constitutional Conference.
Other international members are former deputy chairman of the Indonesian
Election Commission Ramlan Surbakti and president of the Asean
Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, former senator and deputy leader of the
Democrat Party Thailand Kraisak Choonhavan.
Malaysian members include Datuk Azzat Kamaludin, a well-known lawyer and
former administrative and diplomatic officer with the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs Malaysia, Dr Mavis Puthucheary, co-editor of the book Elections and
Democracy in Malaysia, and former associate professor from the Faculty of
Economics and Administration Universiti Malaya, and Reverend Dr Herman Shastri,
general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia.
Assisted by a team of 30 lawyers, Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, Professor
of Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Malaya, will lead the legal team
to present evidence on behalf of the people.
Speaking to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall,
Gurdial stated that they expected "a team of 10 to 12 witnesses and two to three
The tribunal will take the form of a commission of inquiry led by a legal
team who will present evidence and arguments to the tribunal.
The tribunal is tasked to study, investigate, review and report on:
1. The complaints received or disclosed on events leading up to and
surrounding the 13th general election;
2. The electoral process which took place in respect of the 13th general
3. The effect of the findings from (1) and (2) have had on the 13th general
election, particularly in the free and fair criteria (free access to the media,
money politics, adherence to local elections laws);
4. Any matters related or incidental to the above, including the effect on
voters rights generally and the rights of minority communities.
"The tribunal is essentially a citizen’s efforts and a people’s platform to
investigate and scrutinise the conduct of the last general election,” said Irene
Fernandez, a member of the organising committee.
"It will be a tribunal of conscience, mandated with a moral force by the
people to arrive at the truth," added the executive director of Tenaganita, an
NGO which promotes the rights of migrant workers and other oppressed and poor
people in Malaysia..
Members of the public are also encouraged give
statements or evidence relating to claims of electoral fraud and irregularities
during the May 5 polls via email to the people's tribunal secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Aug 16.
The People's Tribunal, which will take place from Sept 18-22, is fully
funded by the Malaysian public.