Saturday, May 17, 2008

High Time For Review On Electoral Laws Says Election Commission Chairman

The Election Commission (EC) should undergo a review whereby it would receive more power to strengthen its capability during elections.

EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman believed that a review was urgently required because the EC needed to have the power to put in place a completely new set of electoral roll which was acceptable to all.

"We feel that there must be new laws making it easier for us to introduce or to prepare electoral rolls before each election. A roll that is not subject to question nor controversy. I wouldn't want to say major or minor, but there must be a committee to look into the whole law.

"(It is) to study back what the EC actually requires in order to put the Commission in a position of strength. A position where you can really determine the proper conduct of election. When it comes to the possible review of our electoral laws, we need to review all the laws and not just one.

"These laws include the Election Act, the Election Offences Act. We need to look into the constitution itself, Article 113 to 120," said Abdul Rashid during a press conference after launching The National Seminar On Election 2008: Democracy at Work at the International Islamic University Malaysia, in Gombak near here.

Abdul Rashid said one of the problems faced by the EC was that they could not submit the proposals because it was not within its function and the EC could only voice out their dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

"I am surprised there is not much debate on this in parliament. I thought with all the noise they had earlier on, they should be making that noise in parliament but it is all quiet.

"Another power that is lacking is the power for the election commission to sue. When people say the wrong things, we should be able to sue. A lot of scandalous things have been thrown (said), including (by) the media, mainstream or alternative. They must be made to pay for the things they said because most of the things they said were not right, not correct," said Abdul Rashid.

He also disclosed that immediately after the elections, the opposition parties sent delegates to apologise for the words spoken during the March 2008 General Elections.

"The opposition parties did send people to say sorry, to apologise. I don't want to mention. They were very personal with me. They were very sorry because basically I wasn't their enemy. I accepted their apologies. They came immediately after the election," said Abdul Rashid.

When it came to the subject of indelible ink, he said the Cabinet did not approve of its usage during the election even though the EC had agreed on its usage due to transparency.

"If there is anything that we can do to assure the people that the electoral process is transparent then we should do it. We had agreed on the indelible ink.

"The Cabinet did not approve, it did not reject. They did not approve because of two reasons. Two very strong reasons and I agreed with them over those reasons. Because of security, the other one is law.

"Under Article 119 which is the fundamental right of a person to vote; even if the voter refused to be stamped with the indelible ink on their finger, the ballot paper must still be given to them. That is the law," said Abdul Rashid. (Bernama)

***** Being Chairman of the Election Commission in Malaysia is a thankless job and I think that Rashid is fully aware where exactly the problems lie and WHO is responsible for the perpetuation of these problems. While he cannot openly come out and say it, his earnest demands for a broad review of the electoral laws is pretty illuminating.

According to reports the Cabinet not only did not approve the usage of indelible ink but also told Abdul Rashid to take responsibility for the fiasco!

In response to the EC Chairman's claim, Pak Lah has been reported to have said that the decision to scrap the use of indelible ink was the Cabinet's 'suggestion' and not a 'directive'. Go figure.

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Anonymous SM said...

Oh come on, let's not be so stupid! This guy is an UMNOputra stooge 100%.
What he really means is they have to ensure that in the next GE, the BN regains their 2/3rds Majority! What they are asking is how come with all the "manipulations" the EC & BN did, the Opposition still won more than 1/3rd of the seats?!
Why is this guy still around? Because UMNO still needs him!

6:13 PM GMT+8  

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