DAP: It’s an act of biasness to benefit BN
PETALING JAYA (
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng there is no legal basis why polling day cannot be held on a weekend, when schools are closed and outstation voters can return cast their ballots with minimal disruption to their daily lives.
“By fixing polling date on a Thursday (April 12), this will affect the schooling of
students and disrupt the daily lives of residents. The nine-day campaigning period is too short for a rural constituency that covers jungles and water catchment areas.
“More unusual is (EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul) Rashid’s claim of a legal basis for choosing a weekday as a polling day, when there is clearly none.
”When Rashid was asked why polling was fixed on a weekday, he said the EC wanted to complete the by-election before April 16, which would be exactly three years since the Malacca state assembly was convened in 2004.
“He said that Election law only allows for by-elections to be held within the first three years of a new state assembly meeting. Polls cannot be held if there are two years left before the deadline for the next general election. And the nine-day campaign period is sufficient as we want to complete the by-election quickly to avoid any politics on the ground.
”DAP challenges Rashid to state which law requires the by-election and polling to be completed within three years of a new state assembly meeting. DAP does not know whether Rashid is confused or pretending to be confused about the legal provisions.
“There is nothing stated in the Federal Constitution, State Constitution or relevant election laws that any by-election must be completed and polling day held within the first three years of a new state assembly meeting. Article 54(1) of the Federal Constitution only provides that a by-election must be held within 60 days of such vacancy,” said Lim.
He said Rashid should resign as EC chairman if he cannot show legal proof of his assertions.
Lim said Rashid’s challenge to the opposition to take legal action against the EC is unreasonable when several legal cases filed in courts have failed as a result of legal technical hurdles that have prevented any deliberation by the courts on the question of whether the EC is independent, free, neutral and fair in conducting elections.
“There is no legal playing field when elections laws are not enforced by Rashid against BN candidates spending RM 110 million on posters alone in the 2004 general elections, far exceeding the spending limit of RM88.3 million allowed in the 2004 general elections.
”By failing to act, the EC is also guilty of abetting electoral fraud or corrupt practices during elections. Under section 19 of the Election Offences Act 1954, a candidate for every Parliamentary and state constituency cannot spend more than RM200,000 and RM 100,000 respectively
“This means that the BN, which contested in all the 219 Parliamentary and 445 state constituencies on offer in 2004 cannot spend more than RM88.3 million.
”Instead of asking opposition parties to take legal action, Rashid should take opposition parties to court for seeking his resignation because he is a liar and failed to fulfill his duties fairly and impartially.
“For instance the joint action committee on electoral reform, BERSIH, has asked that the following three specific reforms concerning the electoral roll and polling as the first steps towards a free and fair election:
- the use of indelible ink (as is done in Indonesia and India ) to prevent multiple voting;
- the abolition of postal votes except for diplomats and other overseas voters; and
- a complete revision of the electoral roll to ensure that the existing irregularities are removed and a roll with full integrity is in place.”
Lim said: “Those are three simple requests, and if he cannot fulfil, then Rashid should resign because he has no moral authority, public credibility and personal integrity to discharge his duties to ensure a free, fair, neutral and clean elections.
“DAP will be going into the by-election with severe handicaps against the might of the BN government machinery, especially in a rural constituency that is a natural BN fortress.
”DAP has no confidence that the EC will uphold the election law to prevent the misuse of government machinery and money politics in this by-election,” he added.
Nomination day is April 3. The by-election is called following the death of incumbent Machap assemblyman and a Malacca state executive councilor Datuk Wira Poh Ah Tiam on March 15.
The voters are made up of 38% Malays, 45% Chinese, 18% Indians and 2% others. The BN has never lost the seat in electoral history.
The electoral battle is expected to be a straight fight between BN's MCA and the DAP. theSunOnline