Media Statement by Loke Siew Fook in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 13th February 2009:
Election Commission must explain why they need 58 days to hold the by-election for Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau
The Election Commission (SPR) has just announced that nomination day for the vacant Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat and Bukit Selambau state seat will be held simultaneously on March 29. If there is a contest, voting will be held on April 7. This is probably the longest period in the history of election in Malaysia for a by-election to be held after a seat was vacant.
The late Bukit Gantang MP passed away on 9 Feb 2009. It will take 58 days before the voters of the constituency get to elect their new MP. The law allows up to 60 days to hold an election after a seat is vacant or after Parliament is dissolved. In last year's general election, it took the SPR only 25 days to hold the election after Parliament was dissolved. The fact as below:
The SPR Chairman owes the Malaysian public and in particular the voters of Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau an explanation as to why they need such a long period of time to hold the by-election in both constituencies?
Did they purposely fix a date later than the UMNO General Assembly so that UMNO leaders in particular their in-coming President Datuk Seri Najib Razak could be spared of any humiliation in case BN lost in the by-election? For the record, UMNO General Assembly will convene from March 24 to 28. Do you think it was a co-incident that nomination falls one day after UMNO General Assembly?
DAPSY slams the Election Commission for acting in the most unprofessional manner which reinforced the perception that it is not in any way independent.
* Loke Siew Fook, DAP Socialist Youth National Chairman & MP for Rasah