According to Bernama (the Malaysian government’s national news agency), the Election Commission (EC) has decided not to give accreditation to Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (MAFREL) to be an independent observer in the Sarawak state election, polling of which is to take place on April 16.

EC secretary Datuk Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria is reported to have said that this was because MAFREL had failed to fully comply with EC’s requirements. “Among them is for MAFREL and its affiliates to be non-partisan in their work,” he said in a statement.

This statement coming from the EC makes it clear that the Government is afraid of – and will prevent – independent observers from monitoring the coming Sarawak election which, in all likelihood, will be the dirtiest one ever since the stakes are so high. Sarawak has to date been the biggest of the Barisan Nasianal’s (BN) electoral fixed deposit. If Sarawak goes to the opposition or if the expected landslide for the BN component parties does not take place, it could be a precursor to the BN losing power at the national level in the coming general election.

– Extracted from Dr. Lim Teck Ghee, “Monitoring the dirtiest elections ever“, The Centre for Policy Initiatives, 4 April 2011.