EC wants power to sue ‘liars’

The Star
Wednesday January 30, 2008

ALOR STAR: The Election Commission wants the power to sue critics who make baseless allegations against it.

Its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said: “There are those who take to the streets (telling lies) and getting the publicity, and we (the Election Commission) suffer.
“If we have the power to sue, we can take action against those who spread lies without evidence,” he told newsmen after briefing some 100 returning officers and assistant returning officers from Kedah and Perlis here yesterday.
Abdul Rashid said the commission had been carrying out free and fair elections within the existing framework but that certain quarters with ill-intentions were lying to the world that vote-rigging was happening in Malaysia.
“These people are traitors (for hurting the image of the country). Vote-rigging is not possible here because the electoral boxes are there in front of the eyes of the agents (representing the candidates and parties) at all times,” he said.
Abdul Rashid also said that the control of the media, especially during the election period, should also be looked into.
“This is another glaring example. Nothing has been put in place (to address the concern),” he said.
He said the commission would also discuss ways to allow journalists to cast votes as many were either sent outstation or were on duty on polling day.
“There are between 2,000 and 3,000 people in this category,” he said, adding that the EC was looking into making special arrangements for journalists on compassionate grounds.
Abdul Rashid also announced that 500,000 names had been deleted from the electoral roll either because the people were dead or had given up their citizenship.
He said the 17,000 people who registered during the last quarter of last year may not be able to vote if investigations could not be completed before the elections. Some 10.9 million Malaysians will be eligible to vote in the coming elections.
Meanwhile, it’s all systems go for the EC except for the indelible ink to be used for the first time in Malaysian history, Abdul Rashid said.
The 48,000 bottles of ink costing RM2.4mil would be shipped here from India once the polls date was set. The ink had a short lifespan, he said.