No polls boycott, say opposition

Beh Lih Yi | Jan 2, 08 

Opposition parties will not boycott the coming general election in the wake of a challenge posed by Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Rashid Othman.

“Opposition parties should not fall into Abdul Rashid’s cleverly-laid trap to boycott the elections and allow Barisan Nasional (BN) to win unopposed in all parliamentary and state seats,” said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in a statement today.
He added that DAP would not boycott the elections but “participate fully to allow the people an opportunity to voice their aspirations.”
PKR vice-president Azmin Ali also made a similar stand. He said PKR and its Barisan Alternatif ally PAS will not back down.
“We have made it clear that we will continue to participate (in the elections) and will continue to expose the (election) frauds and irregularities under Abdul Rashid’s leadership,” he said when contacted.
The three main opposition parties are in a series of ongoing negotiations over the distribution of seats in the coming general election to ensure a straight fight with BN.
Abdul Rashid – who agreed to a one-year service extension last week amidst objections from poll reform groups – had said that opposition parties should stay away from the general election if they have doubts that it would be fair and transparent.
However, Abdul Rashid drew flak over this “irresponsible” statement.
‘Malaysia Boleh’
Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said yesterday that the opposition will not be trapped, saying if the opposition do not contest, they will lose on moral grounds.
However, the veteran politician also stated that if opposition parties resolve to boycott the polls, he would abide by the decision.
Commenting on Abdul Rashid’s statement, PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub today criticised the EC chairperson for attempting to “save” BN in the coming polls.
“We believe the EC chief realised BN is now in a spot as far as the general election is concerned and he tries to be a champion (for BN) to challenge the opposition not to take part,” he stated in a statement.
Meanwhile, PKR’s Azmin said instead of asking the opposition not to contest, Abdul Rashid should prepare a level playing field to ensure a free and fair elections.
On that note, DAP’s Lim said EC in other countries would be encouraging full participation by voters and candidates in an election.
“However in the best ‘Malaysia Boleh’ tradition, Abdul Rashid is doing the exact opposite by asking for a boycott. This is no different from the police asking people to commit crimes.
“Abdul Rashid might as well resign or the EC be dissolved if it is more intent in getting political parties to boycott instead of participating in the elections,” he added.