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4 public guarantees Tan Sri Abdul Rashid should make to restore public confidence that elections can be clean and fair before his tenure as Election Commission (EC) chairman be extended by another year


Press Conference

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Whilst Tan Sri Abdul Rashid is pleased that BN has pushed through amendments to Article 125 of the Federal Constitution extending the retirement ages of the EC Chair from 65 to 66 years old, many Malaysians are upset that the person deemed responsible for damaging the conduct of clean, free and fair elections would be rewarded with another year as EC Chair. Whilst the public awaits to see whether the EC delivers on its commitment to apply indelible ink to prevent repeated voting and allowing opposition parties to monitor the voting process of postal votes in army camps and police barracks, these so-called reforms are inadequate to ensure clean, free and fair elections.

Rashid should make four public guarantees to restore public confidence of clean, free and fair elections before his tenure as EC Chairman can be extended. One, he should clean up the dirty electoral roll that he has allowed to be manipulated until it is marred with both phantom voters and planted voters such as those who are:

• non-resident;
• unlawfully transferred on a wholesale basis without their consent from other constituencies;
• dead, too old (more than 105 years old) or too young (eight). In Melaka there are 323 centenarians or those who are more than 100 years old still registered on the electoral roll; and
• MCA leaders “stacking” their supporters in their home address where their own home can have more than 10 adults with different surnames residing;
• MCA leaders fraudulently registering or transferring voters to fictitious and non-existent addresses in particular constituencies.

The abuses in Ipoh Timor and Ipoh Barat parliamentary constituency are even worse. Checks by DAP State Assemblyman for Pasir Pinji Thomas Su and Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran had revealed that there was a tremendous increase of 8,463 voters in Ipoh Timor and reduction of 656 voters in Ipoh Barat in the short 3 months period of the second quarter ending 30th June 2007. Clearly certain irresponsible parties had planted voters in Ipoh Timor and transferred out DAP supporters in Ipoh Barat.

How can Tan Sri Rashid claim that the EC is fair when he dare not publicly castigate Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mohamad Nazri Abdul Aziz whom he alleged had given a false reply on the number of new postal voters in Ipoh Timor and Ipoh Barat parliamentary constituency? At a meeting on 29th November 2007 in Ipoh with the DAP delegation protesting against the planting of 8,463 voters suspected to by BN supporters in the Ipoh Timor Parliamentary constituency and reduction of 656 of DAP supporters in the Ipoh Barat constituency, Tan Sri Rashid said the current relocation of voters to their “rightful” constituencies is solely to correct mistakes made in the past.

How can the management of the elections be dynamic, credible and trustworthy without any hidden motives when the EC has admitted to making mistakes in the past and the local wakil rakyats were not informed about this relocation exercise made in October 2004? DAP strongly condemns the planting of voters in the Ipoh Timor and Ipoh Barat Parliamentary constituency that shows the dirty, dishonourable and desperate tactics to defeat Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang and M Kulasegaran respectively.

Such an increase of 8,463 voters in Ipoh Timor in only 3 months has endangered what is considered a safe DAP seat held by Lim Kit Siang with a majority of 9,747 votes to a dangerous seat Even Thomas Su’s majority of 2,841 votes in his Pasir Pinji state seat is also in jeopardy. Tan Sri Rashid had denied DAP’s claims by stating that there were only an increase of 5,998 new voters as follows:

1. The wholesale transfer of the entire 3,804 voters from Tambun and Gopeng parliamentary constituency into Ipoh Timor;
2. No increase in postal voters; and
3. The increase in 2,194 newly registered voters.

Tan Sri Rashid claimed the figures obtained by DAP through a reply by Datuk Mohamad Nazri in Parliament was wrong. This is a serious allegation implying that Datuk Mohamad had misled Parliament but there was no action taken by Tan Sri Rashid at the false information given. If EC was indeed independent, Tan Sri Rashid would have either lodged a police report under the Election Offences Act or insisted that Datuk Mohamad apologize or justify his figures but Tan Sri Rashid appears to be more frightened of Datuk Mohamad Nazri than Datuk Mohamad Nazri is afraid of Tan Sri Rashid.

Even the 5,998 new voters conceded by Tan Sri Rashid is still a significant increase that may influence the election results for Ipoh Timor at the next general elections. To win and lose in electoral battles is normal, but DAP would not accept any defeat brought about by unscrupulous manipulation. For this reason DAP rejects totally the explanation by Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman that the “wholesale transfer” of voters from Tambun and Gopeng to Ipoh Timor Parliamentary constituency is mainly to put right what was not done in the last general election.

A free press and enforcing election rules against money politics and abuse of government machinery

The second critical issue that Rashid must address is ensuring a free press that gives equal access to both the ruling and opposition parties. The success of the government in controlling the press has allowed it to manipulate public perception until an international poll survey is equally duped into reporting that 88% of Malaysians polled were satisfied with the state of democracy in the country and 74% said elections were free and fair, the highest in Asia.

Many Malaysians were ignorant of gross electoral irregularities such as dead men voting and different electoral rolls issued in one election because their level of access to such information was restricted by BN’s tight control of the media. By repressing press freedom the government is suppressing freedom of information and access to the truth until black becomes white; unfair and dirty electoral practices become free and fair.

The third critical issue to be addressed is abuse of government machinery and money politics. The EC and Rashid must enforce corrupt electoral practices that are banned by the Elections Offences Act such as using money or government machinery to buy and influence votes. For instance Tan Sri Rashid shocked Malaysians on 7.3.2006 when he said that that up to RM 110 million was spent on elections posters in the 2004 general elections and RM 3.5 million was spent in the recent Pengkalan Pasir by-election.

Under section 19 of the Election Offences Act 1954, a candidate for every Parliamentary and state constituency can not spend more than RM 200,000 and RM 100,000 respectively. Clearly the RM 3.5 million spent in Pengkalan Pasir by-election has far exceeded the legal limit of RM 100,000 by 35 times.

Spending RM 200,000 on Parliamentary seats and RM 100,000 on state seats mean that a political party like BN, that contested all the 219 Parliamentary and 445 state constituencies in the 2004 general elections, can not exceed spending RM 88.3 million. Only BN has the financial resources to spend RM 110 million to spent on posters alone in the last general elections making those elected illegal and the whole ruling government technically illegal under electoral laws.

Spending above limits imposed by the Elections Offences Act 1954 is an illegal practice under Section 27 and is subjected to a fine of RM 5,000 by the Sessions Court, disqualification as a wakil rakyat and rights as a voter. However enforcement of such laws are marked more by its breach than its compliance. EC’s failure to act and question the legality of the BN government not only makes a mockery of the very election laws it has drafted but also the spirit of democracy that votes should not be bought and sold.

The final critical issue is that the spirit, content and substance of democracy must be upheld by respecting the principle of “one person, one vote”. It is ridiculous that the EC actively participates in the gerrymandering of constituencies until the Putrajaya Parliamentary seat has 5,558 voters as compared to Kapar parliamentary constituency with 103,269 voters. Such manipulation violates the principle of representative democracy and dilutes the value of urban voters to insignificance.

The EC should commit itself to the position in the 1957 Merdeka Constitution which prohibited gerrymandering and protected democracy by allowing only a 15% variance in number of voters between constituencies and not the difference of 2,000% or 20 times now! All votes are equal and can not be 20 times more equal than others.

Electoral abuses are no different in substance from vote-rigging. Whilst there are many other electoral abuses, failure to address these four critical issues will indicate that Rashid will have his tenure extended by another year more for his record as a compliant agent of BN protecting its interests, than for his ability and capability to conduct free, fair and clean elections with the highest moral authority, credibility and integrity.


* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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