Che Min should
not take his oath as MP for Pasir Puteh when Parliament reconvenes on July 5
until there is a full and satisfactory explanation on the overturning of
the parliamentary result three months after the March 21 general election
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): I thank the PAS Murshidul Am and Kelantan Mentri Besar, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat for his statement clarifying the PAS stand on the overturning of the Pasir Puteh parliamentary result three months after the March 21 general election, although his explanation on the PAS concession of the Pasir Puteh parliamentary seat to UMNO cannot completely dispel the “something is very fishy” reaction.
It is not just PAS, however, but the other two parties to the extraordinary overturning of the Pasir Puteh parliamentary result – the Election Commission and UMNO – who have also to give full, satisfactory, convincing and separate explanations as to how the “genuine mistake” could have occurred, resulting in the erroneous announcement of the PAS Dewan Muslimat leader Kalthom Othman as the elected MP for Pasir Puteh when it should be the UMNO candidate, Che Min Che Ahmad, former deputy director-general of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.
In fact, Che Min should not take his oath as the properly elected MP for Pasir Puteh when Parliament reconvenes on July 5 until and unless all the three parties concerned, i.e. the Election Commission, PAS and UMNO are able to give full, satisfactory, convincing and separate explanations on the overturning of the of the parliamentary result and why Kalthom Othman had been allowed to take the oath as MP for Pasir Puteh on May 17. Did Kalthom attend the 17 days of parliamentary meeting beginning on May 17, knowing that she was not really entitled to do so?
Despite Nik Aziz’s explanation and with my 38-years of experience in Malaysian electoral politics, I am still mystified as to how such a “genuine mistake” could be made as to announce the defeated candidate as the elected MP with 3,810-vote majority, without the discovery by all the three parties concerned.
In fact, Nik Aziz’s explanation had raised even more questions than answering any. For the first time, Malaysians are told that Che Min had won with a majority of 405 votes (Malaysiakini 28.6.04) and not as previously believed, with a majority of 3,810 vote-majority, or as a New Straits Times commentator, Zubaidah Abu Bakar, wrote on the same day in the article entitled “Outcome of Pasir Putih polls petition never in doubt”:
“There was never any doubt that the BN would be declared the winner for Pasir Putih because from the beginning, all parties agreed that Kalthom had been wrongly declared the winner when the votes were really in favour of the BN’s Che Min Che Ahmad – the former deputy director-general of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.
“Instead, the returning officer declared Kalthom by reading the results in reverse.
“Che Min actually won by 3,810 votes, but Kalthom was declared as the winner by the same score.” (NST 24.6.04)
What actually was the “genuine mistake” – the returning officer “reading the results in reverse” and announcing the wrong candidate as the winner, or there were other errors in the totaling of the results with the majority only 405 and not 3,810?
When did the PAS leadership learn about the mistake in the announcement of the wrong winner for Pasir Puteh parliamentary seat, and did it take a leadership decision to allow Kalthom to take her oath of office as MP in Parliament on May 17 despite knowing that she was not the elected winner?
The Election Commission and UMNO leaders are undoubtedly very happy that PAS has not only conceded the Pasir Puteh parliamentary seat to UMNO but also agreed to the striking out of its five election petitions against UMNO for two parliamentary and three state assembly victories in Kelantan, especially as it could be interpreted as a modification of the PAS stand immediately after the March 21 general election, which challenged the legitimacy of all the UMNO electoral victories, with PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang announcing that PAS would only recognize the seats won by PAS but not those won by UMNO!
Be that as it may, Malaysians are still waiting for convincing, satisfactory and separate explanations by the Election Commission, PAS and UMNO about the overturning of the of the Pasir Puteh parliamentary result three months after the March 21 general election and how a “genuine mistake” announcing the wrong winner could be made on polling night.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman