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Saturday, November 30, 2013

‘Petition to Agong, EC must resign’

Electoral reforms watchdog Bersih urged the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to consider ordering the Election Commission leadership to step down since they have lost public confidence.
PETALING JAYA: In a bid to intensify its call for the Election Commission’s (EC) leadership to step down, Bersih 2.0 launched a petition today seeking the Yang di-Pertuan Agong intervene in rectifying the issue.
The petition wants the head of state to consider ordering the seven EC commissioners, who Bersih claim do not enjoy public confidence, as required under the Federal Constitution, to resign.
At a media conference after the Bersih’s internal polls today, newly-minted Bersih chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah said the EC leadership should go following the indelible ink fiasco in the May’s general election and for its failure to clean up the electoral roll.
“Their term is coming to an end in December, since all of them have to be appointed by the Agong, we think the Agong should seriously consider our demands,” she said.
Bersih past co-chair Ambiga Sreevanesan said she is deeply concerned with the recent statement made by former EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman saying that the constituency re-delineation exercise during his watch was conducted in a way to retain the power of the Malays.
“While he says it is to entrench the power of a particular race, we believe it is to help the ruling coalition. Worse, the present deputy EC chief, when asked, did not deny such a practice was being exercised,” she said.
Maria said the petition also seeks for the re-delineation exercise to be put on hold immediately until a new EC leadership is appointed, and that the electoral roll must be vetted thoroughly.
She said Bersih would not rule out the possibility of holding a Bersih 4.0 rally should the demand fall onto deaf ears, another process to go through would be to wait for the People Tribunal’s report to be released.
“An EC commissioner should ideally be selected from amongst civil society members or retired judges, instead of civil servants,” she said.
New leadership
The Bersih elections today saw Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) director Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa elected as the new vice-chair in a slim win against NGO Ikram chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh.
Center of Independent Journalism executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah is the new treasurer while lawyer Farhana Halim and New Sin Yew were elected as steering committee members.
Maria has been declared as the new co-chair unopposed on nomination day.
This is the first Bersih internal election since its inception, and Maria said they would also embrace regional leaders from around Malaysia to form an 11-member steering committee.
Ambiga, meanwhile, said she and former co-chair A Samad Said would continue to contribute to Bersih efforts through talks and organising civic education.
“Bersih is in our heart and soul, for sure we would continue the works,” she said.

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