Bersih wants EC chairman to resign immediately

Harakah English Section, 9 Dec 07
A coalition campaigning for a free and fair election here registers “disgust” over Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman recent outbursts of “unprofessional behaviour”.

The coalition known as Bersih, wants Abdul Rashid to resign from his post and will send a memorandum of protest on Dec 11, against an amendment to the Constitution which would allow for Rashid’s tenure to be extended.
In a press conference held at Islamic Party of Malaysia PAS) headquarters ere Dec 7 Bersih steering committee member Dzulkifli Ahmad said the coalition had no other choice but to construe that Rashid was out to “curry favour” to the current ruling government.
Dzulkifli who is also PAS central committee member noted that the EC chairman had made a “personal attack” against PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang during a recent public seminar.
He also noted that the EC chairman had considered a Court ruling in 2001 which found instances of the existence of phantom voters as “bias” and Dzulkifli said this was “tantamount to contempt of court”.
Dzulkifli quoted Justice Datuk Muhammad Kamil Awang ruling in 2001 which stated that “it was unthinkable that the Election Commission should shut off the objections (to the list of names in electoral roll) without inquiry” and “(it was) a constitutional wrong for EC to have rejected the objections outright. As the custodian of free and fair elections, the EC was duty bound to do it.”
Foreign monitoring teams
He also noted that the government had consented to EC amending the Election Act 1958 that was gazetted on May 2002 which essentially made the electoral roll, once gazetted “deemed to be final and binding” and not to “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 would still stand. This amendment has effectively removed all legal avenues to challenge the credibility of the electoral rolls,” Dzulkifli said.
“So (Rashid should) instead of calling the judge biased six years after the (ruling), deal with the factual assertions and evidence set out in the judgement,” he said.
Others present at the press conference include Bersih steering committee Tian Chua, Syed Azman Syed Nawawi and Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) pro-tem secretary general S. Arutchelvan.
Syed Azman said Bersih would continue to pressure the government to allow foreign monitoring teams including those from the Carter Centre and the European Union to monitor the election to ensure that it is free and fair.
To a question, he dismissed the move would invite “foreign intervention”. He said a transparent monitoring of the election is an international norm and would be beneficial to Malaysians. – Saadon Aksah/ES