The Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman is getting
involved in a ridiculous argument of semantics over the definition of
“phantom voter”, trying to make a distinction among those
such as illegal immigrants who are
illegally registered on the electoral roll with false identity cards as highlighted in the Likas case where the
former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Yong Teck Lee was disqualified in an election
petition, those who were “imported” into a constituency from another
constituency or state and the dead but whose particulars are used to cast votes
during an election.
The Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had
last Friday specifically blamed the failure of
UMNO to win the recent Pendang parliamentary by-election with a bigger
majority and the UMNO defeat in
Anak Bukit state assembly by-election to “rigging of phantom voters”
in the two constituencies, claiming that more than 500 phantom voters who were
PAS supporters, “not only from other constituencies in Kedah but from
constituencies as far as Terengganu and Negri Sembilan”, were discovered in
just four ballot boxes.
PAS have denied Mahathir’s allegations and Mahathir and UMNO have yet to
produce concrete evidence to substantiate their allegations.
Rashid however disagreed with Mahathir’s allegation of “phantom
voters”, asserting that voters who were improperly and illegally moved from
one constituency or state to another were
“import voters” because “the voters are alive”.
He implied that UMNO was guilty
of laziness, carelessness and
negligence, saying that when the Election Commission published the new electoral
roll for display and objection, he
had told UMNO that it should be careful about certain “election tricks”,
which parties could engage in elections, adding that among them was the case of
importing voters. But there was no
complaint whatsoever from UMNO.
He said this is not a new phenomenon as it had been happening over the last
20 years and done by all parties.
Rashid is right when he said that this abuse of the electoral process had
been going on for the past two decades, as the DAP had been complaining about
this phenomenon since the early eighties, both
inside and outside Parliament, and we have always called them “phantom
voters” in the sense that they had no legal basis or claim to be a voter in a
constituency when they had neither residential nor work ties but who appeared during an
election like a phantom to cast his or her vote and to disappear thereafter.
Rashid is wrong however to make the blanket allegation that the rigging of such imported “phantom voters” was done by all parties, as the DAP had never resorted to such electoral malpractices, and I challenge Rashid to produce evidence of any DAP complicity in such electoral abuses.
Instead of being involved in a semantics argument over the definition of “phantom voter”, Rashid should convene an all-party conference to carry out a six-month purge of the electoral roll of all phantom voters, whether “illegal immigrant”, “imported” or “dead” – as they are a blot to the conduct of a free, fair and clean general election.
Rashid’s press conference yesterday raised many disturbing questions about
the autonomy, independence and impartiality of the Election Commission in the
discharge of its constitutional mandate to conduct free, fair and clean
Is the Election Commission being responsible and faithful to its
constitutional duty and mandate to conduct free, fair and clean elections by
washing its hand of the responsibility to clean up the
electoral roll of imported phantom voters by pushing the entire responsibility
to political parties despite
being aware of its existence for the past 20 years?
Is the Election Commission being responsible and faithful to its constitutional duty and mandate to conduct free, fair and clean elections by washing its hand of the responsibility to clean up the electoral roll of imported phantom voters by pushing the entire responsibility to political parties despite being aware of its existence for the past 20 years?
Rashid is right, however, to dismiss the
allegation by UMNO leaders, including Mahathir, Najib Tun Razak, Rafidah Aziz that there were two sets of electoral rolls in the two Kedah
by-elections, which is totally inconceivable and unthinkiable – as it would
warrant the impeachment of the entire Election Commission!
Unless UMNO could immediately produce proof of the
existence of a second electoral list in the two by-elections, not only UMNO but
the top national government
leadership has been put in a very
poor light, as this episode has highlighted that it
comprises very gullible
and credulous people who could
believe the wildest and even the most nonsensical allegations.
The UMNO leadership owes an explanation to the
people of Malaysia as to how they could be so gullible
to believe that there is a second electoral list in the two by-elections
and whether they have been victims of dishonest UMNO leaders whether at the
state or local levels.