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Batu Talam : Pembangkang boikot pilihanraya kecil?

Opposition may boycott Batu Talam by-election

(Bernama) 10 Jan - Opposition parties may boycott the Batu Talam by-election following the admission by Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman that the current election laws were inadequate and flawed, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

Anwar said Abdul Rashid's "inadvertent admission of the serious flaws and his suggestion for an independent commission be set up to revamp the electoral process" had raised the pertinent question of having a free and fair election in the coming Batu Talam by-election.

"We (the Opposition parties) have not made a final decision on what to do. The possibility of not participating in the by-election cannot be ruled out as we are worried about the EC chairman's statement.

"If the electoral list is wrong, the laws are not right, how to contest?," he asked at a press conference at his residence in Bukit Damansara, here Wednesday.

Anwar said the PKR did not see the rationale in proceeding with the election if the election laws and process were not reformed, especially after the admission by the EC itself.

Anwar was asked if the Opposition parties had reached a consensus on facing the by-election, nomination for which had been fixed for Jan 16 and polling, Jan 28.

Tuesday, PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa said the party would seek a clarification from the EC on the existence of 120 Indian voters in the electoral roll for the Ulu Sungai polling district in the Batu Talam state constituency.

He said the party was baffled as to the existence of the Indian voters when the area only had Malays and Orang Asli.

"This is one of the many factors why PAS is delaying naming its candidate," Husam said.

The Batu Talam state seat became vacant following the death of its elected representative Datuk Tengku Paris Tengku Razlan, 65, due to cancer on Dec 27.

The late Tengku Paris held the post for two terms from 1999. In the 2004 general election, he defeated PAS candidate Dr Mohamed Nilam Abdul Manaf with a majority of 2,761 votes.

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