State EC rapped for open burning of ballot papers

The Star: June 26, 2008
PORT DICKSON: The state Election Commission has been rebuked for open burning of ballot papers from the March 8 general election at a landfill in Sua Betong near here on May 14.
State Department of Environment director Rahani Hussin said the commission should have obtained permission from the DOE before going ahead with the open burning of the ballot papers.
Teluk Kemang MP Datuk Kamarul Baharin Abas had lodged a complaint with the DOE on May 15 stating that the commission had conducted open burning of ballot papers for the Telok Kemang parliamentary and Chuah, Lukut, Port Dickson, Linggi and Bagan Pinang state seats.
Kamarul said this was against the law.
Port Dickson assemblyman M. Ravi, who was also present, said he had advised the officers not to proceed with the open burning.
“In fact, the guard on duty at the dumpsite had also told the officers that they were not allowed to burn the ballot papers there but they ignored him. This is blatant abuse of power,” he added.
Rahani in a letter to Kamarul said his complaint was legitimate.
She said the DOE gave special approval to those who wished to conduct open burning provided that this was carried out in a controlled manner and was not done during dry weather or on hazy days.
“We have notified the commission that if they wish to burn ballot papers openly, they must write to us first and adhere to all the rules.
“Also, they are not allowed to conduct open burning within 30km of the KL International Airport,” said Rahani.
“We have proposed that they destroy the ballot papers by burning them in incinerators,” Rahani said.
State Election Commission director Abd Latif Baba confirmed receiving a letter from the DOE on the open burning of ballots.
“We will abide by the DOE’s instructions from now on.”