DAP offers to be part of a  public inquiry into serious PAS allegations against the independence, integrity and professionalism of Election Commission on the employment of Puteri UMNO  members as part-time Election Commission workers for the coming general election

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaTuesday): Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman was very emotional yesterday, condemning PAS for “an act of evil” in its “negative campaign” against the commission and calling for his resignation as Chairman and Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar as Election Commission Secretary. 

I do not have the full  details of the  indictments resulting in  the unanimous motion adopted by PAS Muktamar on Sunday demanding the resignation of Rashid and Wan Ahmad, in particular with regard to the PAS allegations that the Election Commission had colluded  with UMNO by employing part-time workers from among Puteri UMNO members for the coming general election – which has been denied by Rashid – and for this reason, I will reserve comment and judgment. 

However, the PAS allegations are  very serious which cannot be taken lightly, and it is in the interest of maintaining public confidence in its independence, integrity and professionalism that the Election Commission should be prepared to submit itself to an independent and thorough public inquiry into the PAS allegations, which does not involve the Election Commission, PAS or the government parties.  As DAP is not involved in these  allegations concerning Puteri UMNO,  we offer to be a party together with independent NGOs or eminent Malaysians (including the government-appointed Suhakam), to get to the bottom of the allegations. 

While it is understandable that  Rashid is  incensed at the heavy artillery directed at him by PAS in the form of an unanimous PAS Muktamar motion calling for his and Wan Ahmad’s resignations, and the indignity and humilitation at the PAS proposal to  formally request the Conference of Malay Rulers to reconsider their appointments, it can be no reason or justification for them to lose their cool,  get emotional  and “ go ballistics”. 

Rashid’s announcement that he had directed Wan Ahmad to lodge a police report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on leaks of Election Commission letters is outrageous and simply unthinkable, taking the Election Commission well  beyond the line of  independence, integrity and professionalism, for at least two reasons, viz: 

  • Firstly, it would be tantamount to an admission of guilt to the PAS allegations of Election Commission bias and prejudice in employing Puteri UMNO members as part-time Election Commission workers, with the OSA report a pathetic  attempt to suppress the correspondence for fear that they  would establish the PAS allegations beyond a shadow of doubt.   The OSA will again prove to be a draconian, arbitrary and undemocratic instrument not to protect national security but corruption, abuses of power and wrongdoings by Ministers, government departments and agencies.  It would be a repetition of the scandalous and outrageous Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor persecution under the OSA, which  sent out the message to the nation and the world that in Malaysia corruption is no crime while exposing corruption is the heinous crime. Is the Election Commission trying to send out another message that the corruption of Election Commission mandate  to conduct free, fair and clean elections is no crime, only the exposing of such corruption? 
  • Secondly, the Election Commission should never resort to Official Secrets Act to answer charges by Opposition parties that it lacks independence, integrity and professionalism – as it should be setting an example of accountability, transparency and good governance. Otherwise, it is not capable to fulfilling its constitutional mandate to conduct free, fair and clean  elections.

DAP calls on  the Election Commission to  cancel plans or withdraw any police report against  PAS or any political party under the Official Secrets Act, as there is nothing  more calculated  to undermine public confidence in its independence, integrity and professionalism  than for it to enter into a fray with political parties and  resort to such a draconian,  repressive and undemocratic law. 

Rashid should in fact give an undertaking that the Election Commission under his chairmanship would never resort to the OSA to evade accountability and transparency or when it is about to lose  a public argument with opposition parties. He should publicly declare his  support for a public inquiry into the PAS allegations to clear the Election Commission’s name. 

Last week, Rashid gave a wide-ranging interview with Malaysiakini,  published in  a three-part series, where he made numerous controversial statements, including several weak and faulty  assertions, about elections and the Election Commission’s work, which cannot be allowed to go unrebutted.  He even challenged me to take the Barisan Nasional government to court for its abuses of government machineries, resources and power as a caretaker government after  dissolution of Parliament until  polling day.  I propose to reply to Rashid, probably in a three-part series, beginning on Friday.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman