BERSIH appeals to the Ruler not to dissolve Parliament in March

Press Statement: February 11, 2008
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) appeals to the Yang diPertuan Agong and the Malay rulers of the states not to dissolve Parliament and the state legislative assemblies in March before the Parliament amends the election by-laws on indelible ink.
BERSIH reminds the Election Commission that it must amend the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 to have a legal basis for the employment of indelible ink. The EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman himself is aware of the dire consequences if some voters choose not to follow the rule.
BERSIH warns that the EC must be fully responsible if any such challenges result in another “polling day chaos”.
In 2004, the illegal modification of electoral rolls led to a long paralysis of voting in at least 17 parliamentary constituencies in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, affecting up to some one million voters. Voting was illegally extended by two hours by the EC in some constituencies.
Providing a legal basis is very simple. The EC needs only to spell out the procedural details in the amendment to the ECER 1981 and lay it before the Dewan Rakyat which will begin sessions in mid March.
BERSIH is confident that His Majesty the Yang diPertuan Agong would support the EC by not dissolving the Parliament in March as speculated.
BERSIH reiterates that under Article 40A, the King has discretionary powers whether or not to consent to the Prime Minister’s request for dissolving the Parliament. The state rulers have similar powers in relation to the dissolution of state legislative assemblies.
BERSIH criticizes the PM and the media as both unconstitutional and committing lese majeste for taking the royal consents for granted. No party should act as if the Agong and the Rulers are puppets of the ruling party.
BERSIH appeals to the Agong and the Malay Rulers to consider the serious setbacks in calling for elections when there are still so many unresolved issues that jeopardise the integrity of the electoral process.
Let’s institute the changes to the election laws through proper channels and other reforms before Parliament is dissolved to make way for the 12th general elections.