Election Commission denies fraud charges

Aug 26, 08 (Malaysiakini)
The Election Commission has angrily rejected opposition claims it had rigged the voter list for a critical by-election expected to return Anwar Ibrahim to parliament.
The commission’s secretary Kamaruzzaman Mohamad Nor said claims by Anwar’s PKR that a new electoral roll for the Permatang Pauh constituency had been manipulated were “completely unfounded”.
“They are saying that 949 names are missing in the latest electoral role but this is not true. Since March, we have removed 474 names and added 484 names to make it a total of 58,459 voters,” Kamaruzzaman told AFP.
“We do not know what their motive is but our job is to provide the plain facts so that people will not be misled. I tried my best to explain to them, but they do not agree. If they do not agree, then they can take us to court,” he said.
‘Our figures fully accounted for’
Kamaruzzaman said the names removed from the list included those who had died since the seat was last contested in the March 8 general elections and those who have transferred to other constituencies.
“The EC cannot stop others from making accusations or badmouthing us, but I have this to say, all our figures are fully accounted for and we are prepared to appear in court to prove this,” he said.
The opposition has accused the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition of buying votes and stoking racial tensions in an effort to sideline Anwar, who is aiming to return to parliament in a step towards seizing power.
PKR’s vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah raised concerns yesterday that the new electoral roll had been rigged, saying hundreds of voters’ names had been removed while many more were added.
“The Election Commission has never been known to be independent,” he said at the time. “It is an attempt to remove our voters and put in Barisan Nasional voters.”