Rashid retires and may sue

PUTRAJAYA: Outgoing Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman is considering legal action against several Opposition members for making statements he claims have slandered and defamed him.

Rashid, whose last day with the commission was yesterday, said that as he was longer the chairman, he could sue those who had “assassinated my character time and again.”
“I did not want to sue these people earlier because I did not want to drag the commission into it. Now that I have retired and am a free person, I am considering a suit against those who have said so many untruthful and bad things against me,” he said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters at his last function – a ground-breaking for the construction of the commission’s building – Rashid said there was a “list of people” he wanted to sue but declined to reveal their names.
However, when pressed further, he said: “If they are MPs, they can lose their seat if my suit against them is successful.
“They are not Barisan Nasional MPs, They (Barisan MPs) don’t attack me. That is why I am accused of being in cahoots with the ruling party to ensure its victory.
“This allegation is ridiculous because there is nothing I can do. It is the people who determine your fate. Not me, not the commission,” he said, adding that he had evidence and information that he would submit to his lawyers for advice.
He also said there was a need for election laws to be reviewed to give the commission more clout and authority during elections, adding that such laws were currently being practised in most developed and developing countries.
He added that he had personally spoken to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the matter and volunteered to play an advisory role, should a special body be set up to review election laws.
Rashid, who turns 67 today, said he was leaving the commission after serving it for 25 years, happy that he had done his best to serve the people.
“Having served the commission as its secretary and later as chairman, I believe the commission has delivered fair, free and transparent elections,” he said.
Rashid said that even though he would no longer be serving the commission, which was set up in 1957, he was happy that it was finally getting its own building after having moved five times.