Media Statement by Liew Chin Tong in Bukit Bendera on
Wednesday, 31st December 2008:
Tan Sri Rashid’s EC term a
Tan Sri Rashid Abdul Rahman ended his
term as the most controversial Chairman of Election Commission in
history yesterday with a promise to sue opposition politicians who
criticised him previously for various faults in the electoral system.
It is laughable that Tan Sri Rashid suggested that “if they (opposition
politicians) are MPs, they can lose their seat if my suit against them
is successful.” MPs will either lose their seats if they are criminally
convicted or bankrupt but they won’t lose their seats for losing a civil
It is sad that Tan Sri Rashid parted with the Election Commission after
25 years of service, of which nine as its Chairman, with such an
undemocratic statement when the EC should be the guardian of democracy
in the country.
Tan Sri Rashid’s term as EC Chairman since 2000 is undeniably an
unmitigated failure. Setting against the backdrop of rising demand for
democracy and fair-play in elections, the EC under Tan Sri Rashid failed
to carry out any concrete step to institute electoral reform.
One of the major failures rarely discussed is EC’s inability to register
a third of eligible Malaysians as voters. According to EC’s Deputy
Chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, there are 16.8 million Malaysians who
are above 21 years old but only 10.9 million are listed on the electoral
Most of the non-voters are young Malaysians below 30 years old and
mostly live in urban centres. They are the voters whom the ruling
Barisan Nasional failed to convince.
I am very concerned that the EC has ceased to allow political parties
and NGOs to register new voters. My office has contacted the Penang EC
Office recently and has been advised that “there was no allocation to
allow new voters to be registered by political parties and NGOs.”
I urge the new EC Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, to look into
this as soon as possible and my office will contact him to seek
Tan Sri Rashid’s refusal to use the indelible ink during the March 2008
election and the subsequent by-elections despite promising the nation in
August 2007 at the urging of BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair
Election) is another colossal failure that cost EC its credibility.
Other demands by BERSIH, such as revamping the electoral roll, ensuring
fair media access, abolishment of postal votes, and a three-week
campaign period were not entertained at all.
I wish Tan Sri Rashid well in his retirement but it is impossible for
the nation to ignore his failures which resulted in Malaysia’s electoral
system hovering at the level of African dictatorships.
* Liew Chin Tong, DAP International Secretary & MP for