EC slams Opposition leader for seeking Canberra’s help
The Election Commission (EC) lashed out at Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for requesting the Australian Government to help ensure that Malaysia's general election is free and fair.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof hit out at Anwar for making such a request when the Opposition Leader himself did not turn up despite being invited for the EC's Nov 19 dialogue and briefing session for MPs to address any doubts on the election process.
He added that he was informed by Anwar's aide that the Opposition Leader could not attend as he was “not feeling well”.
Anwar conveyed his petition to Australia in a handwritten note to the country's Foreign Minister Bob Carr. “It's very hard for Australia to do anything on how they're run, as hard as it would be for Malaysia or another government to have a say in how Australian elections are run,” Carr had told ABC radio recently.
In an earlier interview with the Australian radio station, Anwar was asked what Australia could do to ensure a free and fair election, to which he replied “In my note to Minister Bob Carr and my discussions earlier with Kevin Rudd I said look, you talk about free elections in Afghanistan and Iraq why are we rather muted when it comes to free and fair elections in Malaysia?”
Anwar also said in the interview that the Opposition had submitted evidence of a few hundred thousand people who are ineligible to vote, some of whom were 12 years old.
Abdul Aziz said the EC addressed issues including a glitch in migrating voter data into a new system.
It led to 282,068 voters being assigned with the wrong voter registration dates.
Abdul Aziz, who chaired the dialogue, said that the mistake was being corrected but explained that the voters affected were genuine.
The EC chairman said there were many new improvements that would be introduced in the general election following input, including by the Opposition.
They include the use of indelible ink; early voting for armed forces and their spouses after concerns on the transparency of postal voting at army camps and police barracks; as well as allowing Malaysians overseas to vote by post.
“With these new measures how can they now say that the next general election is going to be the dirtiest?” said Abdul Aziz.