Rashid signs on for another year

THE STAR: Friday December 28, 2007

PUTRAJAYA: Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman will stay on as Election Commission (EC) chairman for another year.

Abdul Rashid, a veteran of six general elections who will be 66 on Dec 31, said he had signed the letter to extend his tenure just before this reporter stepped into his office for an interview.
“It is my pleasure to continue serving the people. I will do my best to ensure yet another fair election is held. I’ll do what the framework of the law permits me to. I am happy to extend my service as the commission chairman for another year, or at least to see the next election through,” he told The Star yesterday.
The Barisan Nasional, which won the 2004 election with a handsome majority, has until March 2009 to call for a general election although many see the date to be closer to February or March next year.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2007, recently passed to extend the retirement age of EC members from 65 to 66, became a controversy with opposition MPs and several NGOs opposing it.
Abdul Rashid said preparations for the next general election were well under way, with its logistics and equipment, including 50,000 transparent ballot boxes and indelible ink ready to be dispatched.
“We are tying up the loose ends and the briefing for returning officers and assistant returning officers will be completed by the end of January.
“Even if the election is called before then, it is all right, as the ROs and assistant ROs are mostly experienced civil servants and most have been involved in previous elections.”
Abdul Rashid said the EC was planning to invite its counterpart from Thailand and Indonesia to see how Malaysia conducts its election.