Justice For All Malaysia

Mafrel workers ‘withdraw’ as election observers

Posted on: March 6, 2008

 
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Mar 5, 08 8:07pm   Malaysiakini.com
Several leaders of independent polls watchdog Mafrel thumbed their noses today at the Election Commission (EC) over its decision to scrap the usage of indelible ink by partially handing back their status as observers for the March 8 polls.

Led by their chairperson Abdul Malek Hussin, they announced their withdrawal as EC-accredited observers as a mark of protest against the commission’s perceived failure to implement the usage of indelible ink to prevent multiple voting, fraud and voter impersonation.

mafrel pc 050308 full sceneEC’s accreditation – granted earlier this year to about 333 Mafrel volunteers – means they are allowed to be present and observe the voting process in polling stations in order to deter or record any incidence of irregularities or violations..

Abdul Malek said as the decision to withdraw as observer is his own and not that of Mafrel as an organisation, no one else in Mafrel who has been approved by EC to observe the voting process in the polling stations are obliged to follow suit.

Following Abdul Malek, Mafrel deputy chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh and four other Mafrel members today also handed in their EC-issued observer tags.

Abdul Malek said his decision was on the basis that he does not want to be seen as legitimising EC’s decision not to use indelible ink, which goes against Mafrel’s own recommendations that have been submitted to the commission on the matter.

He described his move as being based “on the principle of defending (the need to) conduct a free and fair election and for the sake of protecting Mafrel’s integrity.”

Goes against Mafrel’s recommendations

“As long as the decision to scrap the usage of indelible ink on voters’ fingers is not reviewed, I take the decision to withdraw my status as observer,” he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.

“Mafrel strongly protests the decision (by EC) and stresses that Mafrel will not legitimise a decision that clearly goes against (its own) recommendations … pertaining to the use of indelible ink,” he added.

Explaining their ‘partial withdrawal’, Abdul Malek said they would be carrying out all their other duties as observers except for being present in the polling stations.

The EC said yesterday it would not introduce indelible ink as planned because it had uncovered a plot to sabotage the polls by using smuggled ink to mark unsuspecting voters before they cast their ballot, which would cause confusion.

Deriding this today, Abdul Malek said such logic would mean all currencies within the country would have to be taken out due to the presence of counterfeit currencies.

He also said many countries such as Afghanistan and the Philippines practice the use of indelible ink without any problems of so-called counterfeit ink disrupting the elections there.

Abdul Malek further said that EC’s argument that current laws do not provide for making the constitutional right to vote conditional upon voters’ having their fingers marked with indelible ink does not hold water.

Recounting the ‘speedy’ amendment earlier this year to the Federal Constitution to extend the retirement age of EC members to allow its chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman to oversee this year’s general election, Abdul Malek said provisions for the usage of indelible ink could have been put in place if EC was serious about it in the first place, he said.

Disappointed with EC chief

Citing a meeting held earlier today with Abdul Rashid, Abdul Malek also expressed disappointment that the EC chairperson had resorted to arguing on the basis of citizens’ constitutional right to vote as a basis to reject the usage of indelible ink.

“There’s a big question about the (government’s protection of citizens’) right to assemble, the right to association and the right to express one’s views as guaranteed in the Constitution.

“But when it comes to the implementation of indelible ink, they come to the trivial argument of the Federal Constitution, and constitutional rights and guarantees. Where are all the other fundamental rights which are part and parcel of democracy?” asked Abdul Malek.

He also described the representation to EC made by the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police to scrap the plan to use indelible ink as amounting to interference in a matter that is within the power of EC to decide.

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Must Attend Program

Please go to this link: https://justice4allkuantan.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/invitation-public-forum-the-isa-and-the-police-reform-process-whats-next-after-pak-lah/
To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of people - Emily Cox

Siphoning EPF money

On 'Why should Valuecap borrow from EPF?' Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud: MTUC condemns the government's move to bail out Valuecap to support the local stock market using RM5 billion from EPF, as the provident fund is the custodian of the workers' money and not some sort of ‘automated teller machine' for the government.
If at all the EPF were to lend its money to the government, it has to be under the condition that there be transparency and accountability in the activities for which the money has been purposed. We want to know who is doing what with the money that belongs to the workers. This is the hard-earned money of the workers, their retirement plan. How is this bailout plan going to benefit the workers? We also question the reason for this bailout. If the economic fundamentals in Malaysia are strong and reserves sufficient as has been stated several times by the government, then why is there a need to offer so much money to the GLCs? Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop should prove how the EPF would profit from this loan. Bernama had reported that Nor had given the assurance that the loan given out by EPF would reap profits for the fund judging from Valuecap's past performance. But where is the paperwork and calculations to show that this move will benefit the EPF? MTUC is concerned that the loan might be mismanaged or misused and this, in turn, would affect the returns for the contributors. Mere assurances are not enough. We want to proof that this RM5 billion will not go down the drain. (The writer is president, MTUC). Sharyn: The government wants to use our pension money to prop up the Malaysian stock market which is the playing field of the rich people. If so, the government must ensure that the EPF account holders - who are predominantly the poor to average citizens of Malaysia - be guaranteed all of our pension money with a compound 8% growth (interest). It's so selfish and sick of the government to use the poor's pension money to help the rich to make more money with all the risks taken by the poor/average citizen. We can better use the RM% billion loans to Valuecap for our children's education, shelter, medical bills etc. Why not get those rich people to prop up the share market instead? Why should they park their money overseas and gamble with our EPF money instead? Kumar14: Who is behind this Valuecap organisation? Why suddenly, this separate entity is allowed to access funds from the EPF? Are they capable enough to handle it or is it just another desperate and blind move? It has been a very infamous trend where the people's funds are channeled to a company for investment purposes and suddenly POP! the funds disappear and there is nobody to be held responsible but a RM2 shell company. Charge who? Sue whom? The RM2 company (just a registered name)? We have seen this many times. People in power and with connections allow such things to go through and reap/rob the people's wealth and then blame it on organisations which actually don't exist. What if a lot of EPF funds are looted via such scams and nobody is to be pointed at? Where will the government get the funds to replenish the EPF? The people are very bored, disappointed, angry and frustrated at seeing all these dumb and unaccounted for measures being allowed by the government with lame excuses. Please, somebody verify the true purpose, integrity and capability of anybody attempting to use the people's fund.

Raja Petra

Photobucket Ihsan dari blog Go!Malaysian http://gomalaysian.blogspot.com/

ANWAR IBRAHIM

A prosperous future is indivisible from a firm commitment to the principles of distributive justice, the rule of law and a profound respect for human rights.

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