Second email to Abdullah after general election – immediately set up Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the most unprofessional, chaotic and disgraceful general election in nation’s 46-year history
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): I have today sent a second email to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asking him to urgently set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the most unprofessional, chaotic and disgraceful general election in the nation’s 46-year history.
If Malaysia is like some African countries and holding a general election for the first time in the nation’s history, the confusion, chaos and totally unprofessional conduct of the general election on March 21 may be understandable – but what happened on polling day is completely inexcusable as this is the 11th general election in 46 years since independent nationhood in 1957 and the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had repeatedly claimed that Malaysia’s Election Commission was looked up as a model for the developing world for its efficiency, competence and professionalism in the conduct of elections.
Rashid’s response and plea to the crescendo of criticisms and censure was most pathetic when he said: “I am prepared to take the blame and resign if investigations reveal I am at fault. Give me a chance to get to the root of the whole thing. I don’t even know why it happened.” (Malay Mail 23.3.04)
Rashid should realize that whether he knows or does not know the root cause of the scandalous, unfair, unprofessional and disgraceful conduct of the polling last Sunday, the worst blot in the history of the Election Commission, he must bear full and unqualified responsibility as Election Commission Chairman for the chaos of the 2004 general election.
I had in fact given Rashid 48 hours’ notice that the March 21, 2004 general election would be the most chaotic and confusing of all 11 general elections, with a faulty electoral roll, slipshod or last-minute planning about various aspects of the election and polling day – creating the most unthinkable inconveniences and hassle to the ordinary voter.
This is why I had phoned and spoken to Rashid two days before polling proposing that the Election Commission postpone the polling day by five to seven days, to ensure first that every voter knows whether he is a voter and where he could cast his vote, instead of creating unprecedented confusion, chaos, anxiety, frustration and anger on polling day.
Now, Rashid has himself called for an indepdent inquiry comprising various parties – including representatives from the Opposition – to conduct an indepth study on the chaos on polling day.
In my email, I urged Abdullah to immediately set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry, after consulting the Opposition on its membership and terms of reference, to inquire into the chaos of the polling day.
I also asked Abdullah to remove the whip in the impeachment proceeding against the Election Commission in the motion of no confidence on Rashid and the other Election Commissioners in the first session of the new Parliament to allow Barisan Nasional MPs to co-sponsor, support and vote for the censure against the Election Commission.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman