Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi believes that the government should take action against electoral reforms pressure group Bersih for tearing up photocopies of Election Commission chairperson’s picture.
pak lah abdullah ahmad badawi talking 131106″We should take action if there are laws that provide for punishment for such an action,” Abdullah was quoted as saying by Bernama today.
Several Bersih leaders tore pictures of Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman yesterday to protest the latter’s apparent lack of commitment towards electoral reforms.
Commenting on this, Abdullah said that Bersih leaders had been “disrespectful” and had gone overboard in their actions, which he believes is unprecedented.
“They’re rude and disrespectful. There are other ways to air their disapproval,” said Abdullah after attending the Universiti Malaya Alumni Day today.
PM defends Abdul Rashid
Defending Abdul Rashid’s track record, Abdullah said that he had discharged his duties well and had conducted fair, clean, transparent and democratic elections.
abdul rashid abdul rahmanAbdullah also hit out at Bersih members for tearing Abdul Rashid pictures even when the EC had met opposition demands to introduce indelible ink and transparent ballot boxes.
“If all these while, what it has been done is not good and the changes being made now (in this elections) are also not good, bring the matter to court,” said Abdullah, reportedly in a stern voice.
During the last parliamentary sitting in December, Abdullah’s administration had amended the Federal Constitution to extend the 65-year-old age cap for EC Board members to 66.
Critics including Bersih hit out against the move, claiming that it was an attempt to retain Abdul Rashid as EC chairperson for the upcoming general election. Abdul Rashid turned 66 last month.
jom bersih venue change 010208 abdul rashid poster tearing sequenceAbdul Rashid has served as EC since 1979, starting as the commission’s secretary before being appointed chairperson in 2000.
Explaining the purpose of tearing up Abdul Rashid’s photo yesterday, Bersih secretariat member Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad said that the coalition wanted to send a message to the former that he was hampering electoral reforms efforts.
Elaborating, Dzulkifli said Abdul Rashid had yet to fulfil Bersih’s demands for ‘clean’ electoral rolls, extending campaigning periods and abolishing postal voting.
Dzulkifli however stressed that the move to tear the picture was merely a symbolic act and not meant to be a personal attack.
Abdul Rashid had previously warned that he would take legal action against those who spread slander against him.
Tearing up Rashid's photo: PM mulls action