Mafrel Representatives Withdraw As Election Observers

KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 (Bernama) — Several representatives from the Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) non-governmental organisation (NGO) have withdrawn as observers of the general election on Saturday after disagreeing with the Election Commission’s move to cancel the use of indelible ink during the voting process.
Mafrel’s chairman Abd Malek Hussin was the first to do so when he announced his withdrawal as an observer today.
“As long as the decision (to cancel the use of indelible ink) is not reviewed, I will be the first to voluntarily withdraw from being an authorised observer of the EC at polling stations,” he told a press conference here.
Four other Mafrel observers followed suit. They are its vice chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh; northern region (Kedah, Penang, Perak) representative Ong Boon Keong; Federal Territories representative Mohd Zainuddin Amran; and the representative for Bukit Bintang here, Dr Ganesan Arumugam.
“With the withdrawal, it means Mafrel is no longer bound to the terms set by the EC. However, as an NGO, Mafrel’s observers can monitor the conduct of elections at a distance of 50 metres from polling stations and not inside them. That will be the difference,” said Abd Malek.
Yesterday, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman announced that the use of the indelible ink would be cancelled based on legal aspects and also grounds of security.
Mafrel, which was formed in 2003, had monitored the 2004 election and also has experience monitoring elections in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Thailand, Germany and Pakistan.