Monday, May 19, 2008

PRU12 aftermath: EC should be free

May 18, 2008 21:08 PM

EC Should Be Free In Making Decision, Says Guan Eng

PENANG, May 18 (Bernama) -- Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Election Commission (EC) should be free and not favour the ruling party in making the decision on the use of black ink in the March 8 general election.

Besides that, he said, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail should explain to the people the true reason behind the issue of cancelling the use of the black ink.

He was commenting on a statement by EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman on Saturday that the Cabinet did not approve the use of the black ink during the last general election because of security and legal reasons.

Lim was speaking to reporters after opening the Batu Maung state constituency community service centre here Sunday.

Rashid also said that although the EC had initially decided to use the black ink to ensure transparency in the general election it had agreed to cancel the plan based on the two strong reasons.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in elaborating Rashid's statement, said the decision to cancel the use of indelible ink in the last general election was not an order but views of the government to the EC.

Abdullah said that even though in principle the decision was made by the government, it was delivered in the form of views and the final decision remained at the discretion of the EC as the body responsible in the running of elections in the country.

Meanwhile, Lim said Rashid, Musa and Gani must be free and not favour the government on the matter because this was a breach of democratic principles because voting in an election must be carried out fairly, freely and without disruptions or influence from any quarters.

Besides, an explanation on the action not to use the black ink was necessary in view of the RM2.7 million spent to purchase 48,000 bottles of the ink, he said.

On another issue, Lim said the new list of Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) members in Penang had been decided upon and their appointment would be made as soon as the old JKKK members vacated their seats.