Uproar over EC rule change

NST: 26 February, 2008
PUTRAJAYA: Queensbury rules do not apply in politics. But still, the Yang Berhormats often try to keep true to the honorific before their name, except maybe when they are in parliament or at the hustings.
In the past few days, the rising pressures of an election have brought out the worst in those involved.
When Umno members in Perlis tore down banners and defaced posters when they thought their leaders were not chosen to contest, they were calmed down by their leaders.
But what do followers do when their leaders themselves display behaviour which is far from honourable?
Yesterday, at the Election Commission headquarters here, Pas vice-president Mohammad Sabu and several party leaders shouted abuse at the EC public relations officer Sabri Said when he turned up at the EC office lobby to receive a memorandum from them.
But Mohammad Sabu’s group, which included Pas head for the Batu parliament seat, Ishak Surin, and the candidate for Titiwangsa, Dr Lo’Lo’ Mohd Ghazali, felt that Sabri was too junior for them to deal with and demanded that someone higher up attend to them instead.
When he could not reason with the group, Sabri left without taking the memorandum.
Angry that no one more senior would accept the memorandum, Mohammad Sabu tore up the document and scattered the shreds in the lobby.
The memorandum was to protest EC’s decision to scrap an earlier requirement for nomination papers to be stamped with a RM10 duty on the statutory declaration form.
Mohammad Sabu claimed that this was done because many Barisan Nasional candidates did not have their statutory declarations stamped.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, however, said in an interview with TV3 on Sunday that the commission would not reject a candidate on minor technical grounds as it was not its role to look out for opportunities to boot out candidates.
Rashid said: “What is more important is that the people are given their right to choose their preferred candidate on polling day.”