Sin Chew interview with EC Chairman

* Sin Chew ran a one-and-a-half page interview with the EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid on 1 January 2008. Here are some excerpts from the article (translation by a third party):

“Unhappy about being accused as “Government’s Running Dog”; SPR wants to Prosecute Opposition Parties – SPR Wants Prosecution Power”

“If I have the power to prosecute, I will prosecute the opposition parties that always slander the EC.”
“EC does not need to help the government, because they are very strong and do not need such help.”
“If the opposition parties wanted to protest unfair election, then they should not participate in election.”

2. EC would like action against unfair reporting
Tan Sri Rashid said that the government should give the EC prosecution powers so that they can resolve vote-buying problems and issues brought up by the candidates, as well as check on media bias and unfair reporting.
3. Polling Officers are properly trained
He claimed that polling officers were all trained civil servants, and therefore were ‘clean’ and would not cheat voters. However, he did not deny that current laws gave certain advantages to the government. Tan Sri Rashid also claimed that in all his six terms at the EC, he had not received any vote-buying complaints directly.
4. EC wants more power
The EC Chairman said he had sent a proposal to the government more than a year ago asking for more power to carry out its work more efficiently but he had not heard anything on the matter. He also pointed out the other laws that governed the media, such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Multimedia Act, therefore the Opposition should not accuse the EC for being unfair.
5. Unperturbed about objections to tenure extension by BERSIH
On the objections to the extension of his tenure, Tan Sri Rashid said he was unperturbed because he knew what his responsibilities were. “If the opposition wanted to make suggestions, he was willing to meet them and hand over the suggestions to the government.
He pointed out that there were certain procedures and processes that could be amended or improved, but BERSIH’s suggestions were ‘structural’, therefore they were steps that the EC could not implement or amend.  Tan Sri Rashid accused BERSIH of ‘not understanding the Constitution’.
6. EC in difficult and awkward position 
The EC Chairman said it was not just the Opposition who didn’t like him, and that although the government has extended his tenure, he knew he was not liked by many senior government officials. He commented he was not the type to call on VIPs or socialise with them.