Friday, April 24, 2009

Bersih: EC chairman should resign

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) said Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof’s position would be untenable if he continues to act like a Barisan Nasional (BN) election agent.

Ia statement to the media BERSIH said all state officers should observe administrative neutrality. "If Abdul Aziz cannot control his partisan behaviour, he should just quit his job and work full-time as a BN election agent or lead a lobby group advocating for the abolition of elections," the statement said.

"Abdul Aziz is constitutionally duty-bound to ensure free, fair and clean elections, his job is not to prevent elections and by-elections especially when it looks like BN cannot ensure victory," the coalition said.

BERSIH said Abdul Aziz’s earlier statement that he will study the possibility of not having a by-election in Penanti -right after Najib gave the excuse of by-election fatigue shows that the EC is a parrot that echoes BN’s opinions.

"Also, the EC’s insistence on studying and deciding if a seat is vacant rather than accepting the Legislature Speaker’s judgment, in Perak and now in Penanti, is both partisan and malicious," the statement said.

Lastly, Abdul Aziz’s earlier comment that the voting pattern in Kuala Sepetang was worrying was also gravely inappropriate and uncalled for. The EC’s job is to administer elections, not make patronizing, partisan and unsolicited advice on the outcome of elections, it added.

BERSIH said as elections, including by-elections are core to a representative democracy, EC must not propose any changes to deprive voters of their right to decide who they want to represent them.

"If the principle of "no taxation without representation" is violated, a government which collects tax revenue will be reduced to nothing but a mafia outfit which extorts protection money from the people," the statement said.

The coalition also urged EC to push for the lifting of Article 48(6) which bars an elected representative from re-contesting for five years after resigning from the seat.

Elections are like job interviews. An employee has the right to resign and seek reappointment under different conditions. Whether the person is to be employed depends on the prospective employer - Agencies.

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