Election Commission, UMNO and PAS to give full, satisfactory and separate
explanations to dispel widespread public feeling that the overturning of
Pasir Puteh parliamentary result with PAS conceding victory to UMNO “stinks
to high heaven” as part of a secret dishonourable deal against open, honest
and principled democratic politics
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): It is three days since the shocking news about the overturning of the Pasir Puteh parliamentary result in the last general election on March 21, 2004 with PAS conceding victory to UMNO, on the ground that there was a “genuine mistake” but up to now, neither the Election Commission, UMNO nor PAS has given any satisfactory nor convincing explanation as to how such a “genuine mistake” could have occurred to address the widespread adverse reaction among Malaysians that it is part of a secret and dishonourable deal antithetical to open, honest and principled democratic politics.
Three months after the March 21, 2004 general election, the voters of Pasir Puteh and the Malaysian people are suddenly told that the returning officer of Pasir Puteh had erroneously announced the PAS Dewan Muslimat leader Kalthom Othman the elected MP with a big majority of 3,810 votes on polling night, when the UMNO candidate Che Min Che Ahmad, former deputy director-general of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department should be the declared winner of the parliamentary contest in Pasir Puteh.
I have been involved in electoral politics for 38 years and I am still mystified as to how such a “genuine mistake” could have been made, requiring the election court with the unanimous consent of the Election Commission, UMNO and PAS to reverse the election result on polling day and I am not surprised at the immediate and continued adverse reaction nation-wide to the extraordinary electoral development, with many saying that it “stinks to high heaven” for being part of a secret and dishonourable deal between PAS and UMNO.
The silence of the Election Commission, UMNO and PAS in the past three days to throw light on how such a “genuine mistake” could have been made to prove that it was in fact a true and bona fide mistake is not calculated to enhance public confidence and this is why the Election Commission, UMNO and PAS should give full, satisfactory and separate explanations as to how such a “genuine mistake” could have taken place to dispel the public feeling that “it stinks to high heaven” for being part of a secret dishonourable deal against open, accountable and transparent politics to ensure free, fair and clean elections.
The Election Commission must explain why despite all the pre-2004 general election promises that it would be conducting the most efficient and professional general election in the 46-year history of the nation, it has ended with the most chaotic, unprofessional and disgraceful election in all eleven general elections since 1959 – even committing the “unthinkable” error of announcing the wrong candidate as the elected MP, another dubious “Malaysia Boleh” achievement!
UMNO must explain how its candidate, representing the Barisan Nasional slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang”, could be party for three months to the scandalous episode of the wrong candidate being declared the MP when he had won the parliamentary seat by a thumping 3,810-vote majority – winning 27,018 votes as against the PAS candidate’s 23,208 votes.
As before the returning officer announced the election results, candidates are given a chance to signify their agreement to the voting scores of each candidate, why did Che Min or his agent agreed to the “wrong” election totals? Furthermore, Malaysians are entitled to know why there was no immediate protest about the “genuine mistake” in announcing the wrong winner at the first available opportunity immediately after the general election – and why such a shocking mistake was kept away from the public domain for three months until the election court hearing last Wednesday?
Don’t all this adversely reflect on the competence and suitability of Che Min as MP, and is the Barisan Nasional leadership going to ask Che Min to resign so that Pasir Puteh can have a more suitable, competent and qualified MP more reflective of its slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang”?
PAS must explain whether it is true, as the PAS Murshidul Am and Kelantan Mentri Besar, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat had admitted publicly, that PAS had all along known about the mistake in the Pasir Puteh parliamentary result; if so, why the PAS candidate and leadership had not publicly owned up to the mistake earlier; and even more serious, why Kalthom Othman had taken her seat in Parliament and even her oath of office as MP on May 17, when she knew that she had been erroneously declared the MP for Pasir Puteh; and why the PAS leadership had allowed her to do so when this was clearly improper, dishonest and unprincipled?
In this connection, both PAS and UMNO should publicly clear the air that the overturning of the Pasir Puteh election result with PAS conceding the seat to UMNO, and the striking out of nine election petitions filed by both PAS and Barisan Nasional challenging the outcome of seven state and two parliamentary seats in Kelantan, were part of a secret deal between the two parties to among other things allow PAS to continue to be in power in Kelantan State.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman