By ONG YEE TING
PENANG: Someone has to take the responsibility for the indelible ink fiasco before the issue “turns into a fuss,” Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) steering committee member Liew Chin Tong said.
He alleged that Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had breached the spirit of the Constitution when he agreed with the Cabinet’s decision not to approve the proposal to use indelible ink for the March 8 general election.
Abdul Rashid was reported to have said that he agreed with the Cabinet over two very strong reasons not to use the ink – one was security and the other was law, relating to Article 119 of the Federal Constitution which states that it is the fundamental right for a person to vote.
Liew said the EC's mission was to ensure a clean, fair and free election and it is “very wrong for them to have listened to the Cabinet.
"EC is an independent body mandated by the Constitution and should be independent of any executive influence," he told a press conference Sunday after meeting residents of a village in Batu Ferringhi here.
He was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's statement that the Cabinet had "merely suggested to the EC to not use the ink".
The Prime Minister was quoted as saying that the Cabinet had made the suggestion a week before Parliament was dissolved, giving its reasons why it did not want the ink to be used.
He said: “We had received information that some quarters had bought the ink although they had no authority to do so and we were suspicious that it could be used to cause confusion and complications during the voting process.”
Liew, who is also Bukit Bendera MP, reiterated Bersih's call for a Royal Commission to be formed to look into electoral reform.
"It's already time for us to have a commission to examine the issues, problems and loopholes in the existing electoral system," he added.