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Date: 18 Nov 1999
Aliran Media Statement Unfounded Claim
In a news report "Chandra to Stand Against Tan" carried in The Star 16 November 1999, it was claimed that "An Aliran member said a team of its members would come down to help the Barisan Alternatif wrest the seat from Barisan".
This claim that an Aliran team will be involved in Dr Chandra Muzaffar's campaign in the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat is unfounded.
Neither the Aliran office in Penang nor any of its executive committee members was contacted to confirm the story. We have reason to believe that the above claim attributed to an unnamed "Aliran member" is simply based on hearsay and the reason for doing so, instead of first verifying with Aliran officials, best known to The Star itself.
The fact is that Aliran, throughout its 22-years history, has not been involved in any electoral campaign on behalf of any candidate, whether from the Barisan Nasional or the opposition parties. This continues to be our position in the upcoming tenth general elections.
Instead, Aliran has played the role of watchdog and monitored the conduct of the elections by the contending parties, the media, business, government departments, etc. In 1990 for instance, Aliran was directly involved in helping to set up Election Watch which was headed by former Lord President Tun Suffian. We have also monitored and reported on several Sabah and Sarawak elections. This time, Aliran is involved in PEMANTAU, a coalitionof 42 organisations monitoring the 1999 elections.
Apart from this monitoring, Aliran has usually used the occasion of elections to highlight and discuss the major issues of the day with a view to promoting the political consciousness of voters and the deepening of democracy in Malaysia.
Consequently, Aliran has called upon Malaysians to vote not only for a stronger opposition, but for a freer media, the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, an end to money politics, just and equitable socio-economic policies, inter-ethnic and inter-religious co-operation, etc.
Accordingly, in this 1999 elections, Aliran calls upon Malaysians to "Vote for Change", in particular, the transformation of our political system from one which has been dominated by a single coalition for 42 years to a political system comprising two evenly-matched coalitions which can check on one another and rotate power every 5 to 10 years.
Apart from this, we continue to call voters to vote for leaders who will best ensure rule of law, and the integrity of our judiciary, protect our freedoms, promote the rakyat's rather than certain politicians' interests, etc. All these will help to deepen our democracy, which has been Aliran's stand throughout.
Dr Francis Loh Secretary 17 November 1999