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Both Tan Sri Abdul Rashid and Proton are in a state of denial that they are not independent and competitive respectively which pose a threat to our nation’s democracy and economy


Press Statement

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Both Election Commission (EC) Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid and Proton are in a state of denial that they are not independent and competitive, which pose a threat to our nation’s democracy and economy. Rashid had challenged the opposition parties to show evidence of election rigging by the EC and he will resign if such election rigging is proven in court. Similarly Proton has announced that it will not seek foreign partners and ended talks of possible strategic alliances with Germany’s Volkswagen and US General Motors because Proton has a turnaround in sales and profitability.

Proton is involved in mass deception and self-delusion if it believes it can successfully turn around and improve its performance in terms of profitability, growing sales and the export market. However the share market disagreed with the Government's decision to call off talks with Volkswagen and General Motors by selling Proton’s stock to its lowest level in seven year low of RM 4.02, a drop of 92 cents or 18.6%.

A foreign partner was seen as crucial to bailing out Proton following its dismal financial performance for the fiscal year ended March 31 (FY07) as revenue dropped 37% to RM 4.9 billion from RM 7.8 billion in FY06. Proton incurred a net loss of RM591.4mil against a profit of RM 46.7 million previously. Its cash on hand fell 34 % to RM 461 million.

What is more worrying is that sales fell 40% from 183,824 units to 110,358 units last year, a drop in market share to 32 per cent from more than 60 per cent in 2000. How can Proton expect to survive with such poor sales when its overseas market is a loss-making operation? Even though Proton claims to have increased sales by 22,000 units over the last 3 months, such a steep loss in market share from 40% to 32% or more than 70,000 units from 2005 to 2006 is almost irretrievable.

Proton also claimed that it had recently secured a deal to export 5,000 Wajas to Iran and are assembling 40,000 Wajas there annually by 2012. In the international automotive market, these miserly figures of 40,000 units do not fulfill the conditions of economies of scale and costs to generate profits. The government has been irresponsible by refusing to take the difficult choice of either selling off Proton, inviting foreign participation or even close down if it continues making huge losses when previous loss-making government linked corporations such as MAS are recording profit growth

Similarly, Tan Sri Rashid should realize that he is splitting hairs when it is not the EC but the BN that is involved with vote-rigging. And EC is equally guilty by allowing such vote-rigging to happen and be validated as a proper election results. The credibility and integrity of the election roll is the most crucial factor in ensuring a free, fair, impartial and clean election. In 2001, Justice Datuk Muhammad Kamil Awang nullified the election result of Likas; Sabah on the grounds that the 1998 electoral roll for the state seat was illegal as phantom voters, including non-citizens, had cast their votes on polling day.

In his judgment, Justice Muhammad Kamil took the EC to task for its role in certifying and gazetting a questionable electoral roll, in spite of the numerous complaints made to the EC and the Government to carry out investigations into the existence of non-citizens in the electoral roll. He then went on to say that “it was unthinkable that the Election Commission should shut off the objections without inquiry” and “a constitutional wrong for SPR to have rejected the objections outright”.

According to the Election (Registration of Electors) Regulations (Sabah) 1971, if a voter files an official objection against the inclusion of a particular person, the EC has to hold a Public Inquiry to which both the objectors as well as the ‘objectee’ are invited. This failure to hold inquiry was sufficient to nullify the election result.

After the Likas judgment, the Government with the consent of the EC made an amendment to the Election Act 1958 gazetted on 30 May 2002 whereby Section 9A clearly states that the electoral roll, once certified or recertified and published in the Gazette, shall be “deemed to be final and binding” and not “be questioned or appealed against in, or reviewed, quashed or set aside by, any court.”

In other words even if the electoral rolls are so flawed as to influence the election result, the election result would still stand. This amendment has effectively removed all legal avenues to challenge the credibility of the electoral roll. By refusing to abolish Section 9A to Election Act 1958, the EC is working hand-hand with the BN instead of restoring the rights of the citizens to challenge any fraudulent electoral roll as sufficient to nullify an election by. In the last General Election, there were at least three versions of the Electoral Rolls being circulated and the deletion of many valid voters from the roll in Selangor. So how can Rashid say there was no vote rigging when it is proven both by factual events and even in court?

Instances of such vote-rigging by BN condoned by the EC and even double-standards in application of our country’s laws is evident in the charges of abusing his powers against suspended police commercial crimes investigation director Datuk Ramli Yusoff. Ramli, 55, is accused of corruption at the Police Air Wing base in Tanjung Aru here at about 7.50am on June 15 this year for using a police Cessna Caravan plane to carry out an aerial survey on two plots of land at Ulu Tengku, in the east coast district of Lahad Datu, with two of his partners in a company, Syarikat Kinsajaya Sdn Bhd.

Why do the EC and Tan Sri Rashid not seek similar action against top government leaders who abuse and misuse government vehicles, resources and machinery to campaign either for their own benefit or their political parties’ interests during the general elections or by-elections? Are not BN government leaders committing the same offence as Ramli in using public resources for private or non-public interests?



* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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