EC chief: Exercise your right as a Malaysian

NST: 8 March 2008
PUTRAJAYA: Cast your vote. Nothing is stopping you from exercising your rights. Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the system is in place for the nation’s 10.9 million registered voters to cast their ballot papers today.
“The police and our officers are there to see that you can do so peacefully and without any disturbance.
“Don’t worry about anything else, including your safety. You have my assurance,” Abdul Rashid said, adding that it was the duty of the electorate, including first timers, as loyal citizens and patriots to vote today.
He was speaking after meeting election officers from Thailand, Timor Leste and Indonesia who have been invited to observe the balloting process.
This is the first time that observers would be at selected polling stations to observe the voting process.
The Indonesian delegation is led by Prof Dr H.A. Hafiz Anshary, who is Indonesian Election Commission chairman, while the delegation from Timor Leste is headed by Arif Abdullah Sagran, who is Timor Leste commissioner of the National Commission of Election.
The Thais are led by Thailand Election Commission chairman, Apichart Sukhagganond.
Meanwhile, EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the decision by some members of election watchdog Malaysians For Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) to pull out as observers would have no bearing on the general election.
The EC had accredited 333 Mafrel members as observers, meaning they could monitor the balloting process from inside polling stations.
The decision to pull out was in protest against the EC’s decision to scrap the use of indelible ink.
Wan Ahmad said it was Mafrel’s right to pull out, but added that the election watchdog should respect the EC’s decision as it had a right to do so.
Mafrel chairman Abd Malek Hussin, however, said members would still be observing the polling process from outside the polling stations.