PETALING JAYA, 23 April 2009: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) slammed the Election Commission (EC) chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof for his pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) behaviour recently.
Abdul Aziz (Source: mycio.mampu.
gov.my) Bersih said Abdul Aziz should resign if he continues to act like a “BN election agent” in a press statement issued today.
The coalition criticised Aziz for saying the Election Commision may study the possibility of not having a by-election in Penanti right after Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on 18 April that BN may not contest in Penanti.
“[This] shows that the Election Commission is a parrot that echoes the BN’s opinions.
“If Abdul Aziz cannot control his partisan behaviour, he should just quit his job. He can then work full-time as a BN election agent or lead a lobby group advocating for the abolition of elections,” said Bersih resource person Wong Chin Huat.
Additionally, Bersih described the EC’s insistence on studying and deciding if a seat is vacant rather than accepting the legislature speaker’s judgment, in Perak and now in Penanti, as “both partisan and malicious”.
The group reminded Abdul Aziz that his job is “not to prevent elections and by-elections especially when it looks like BN cannot ensure victory”, but to ensure free, fair and clean elections.
“As elections — including by-elections — are core to a representative democracy, EC must not propose any changes to deprive voters of their right to decide who they want to represent them,” argued Wong.
He added that if the principle of “no taxation without representation” is violated, a government which collects tax revenue will be reduced to nothing but “a mafia outfit which extorts protection money from the people.”
Bersih urged the EC to push for the lifting of Article 48(6) instead, which bars an elected representative from re-contesting for five years after resigning from the seat.
Delay is suspicious
Meanwhile, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang has questioned the EC’s decision to delay the announcement of the Penanti by-election nomination and polling dates.
Lim Kit Siang Describing it as “strange and unprecedented”, Lim said this has never happened in his 43 years of political and electoral experience in a blog posting today.
“Is the EC waiting for a signal from the Umno supreme council meeting tomorrow night on how to handle the Penanti by-election issue, as the prime minister and Umno president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has indicated unwillingness for Umno and Barisan to contest in view of their losing streak in by-elections after last year’s political tsunami?” asked Lim.
He claimed that there has been speculation that Umno quarters would attempt to persuade former Penanti state assemblyperson Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin to repudiate his resignation letter.
On 17 April, EC chairperson Abdul Aziz said it would meet on 22 April to determine if the Penanti seat is vacant, and if so, the date of the by-election, and announce its decision by 24 April.
However, Bernama reported yesterday that the status of the Penanti state seat will only be announced on 27 April.
Lim said the EC’s decision would “reinforce public suspicions about its independence, professionalism, and intergrity.”