Nazri scoffs at EC 'independence'

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Oct 23, 07

De facto law minister Nazri Aziz has told opposition MPs not to get over-excited about the ‘independence’ of the Election Commission (EC), when it does not exist.

Replying Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman (PAS-Pengkalan Chepa), Nazri said: “We all know that we have the EC Act. If you take that into account, the EC is bound to the legislature and it is also tied to what we would approve.
“So, don’t get too excited when discussing the EC’s independence because it cannot act freely – it is tied to the legislature.”
Mahadzir Mohd. Khir (BN-Sungei Petani) asked for the date of the next general election and the proposed use of indelible ink, seen as a means of stopping ‘phantom’ voters.
Nazri evaded the question on the election date. Speculation is rife that a snap poll could be called by early next year, but the government’s mandate does not expire until March 21, 2009.
Still waiting for official approval
However, he told the House that the government is waiting for “official approval” from the National Fatwa Council on the permissibility of using indelible ink on Muslim voters.
On Aug 8, Bernama had reported that the council had given the proposal the go-ahead, following tests by the Chemistry Department and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
The findings concluded that the green ink to be used is free of ‘unclean’ elements that could render Muslim ablutions void.
Nazri reiterated that voters with the old identity cards would be allowed to vote, provided they are registered with the EC.
The EC has come in for severe criticism by opposition parties and civil rights groups as being a ‘puppet’ that is used by the government to manipulate the election process.