PAS threatens to sue panel

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 20 Aug 2003

PUTRAJAYA: PAS has threatened to take legal action against the Election Commission for sending out letters to voters seeking to confirm their addresses stated on the electoral roll. 

Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman revealed that he had received a letter from PAS “threatening” to sue his office, alleging that it was trying to “strip” individuals of their voting rights under the exercise. 

“The party claimed that the voters concerned really do stay at the addresses,” he said. 

Abdul Rashid said its letters were sent out as a “routine procedure” following complaints from the public. 

“This is a verification process as we are trying to determine if the individual staying at the address shown on the electoral roll is really the voter.  

“We have received complaints from the public and even political parties, claiming that there were Chinese, Indian or Malay names registered at the same address. 

“So we have to go to the ground and investigate. This is our job. We are not trying to deprive individuals of their voting rights,” he told reporters after chairing a briefing with representatives from the Barisan Nasional parties at his office here yesterday. 

RETURN TO SENDER: Abdul Rashid (left) and the commission's secretary-general Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar showing the verification letters confirming voters' registration that were returned because they failed to reach the persons concerned.

“My advice to PAS is that we will act fairly towards every voter, so please don’t interfere with our job. We have to do this or else we will never be rid of allegations of phantom voters,” said Abdul Rashid.  

Some parties, said Abdul Rashid, had also complained about the commission's latest measure. 

“But they merely called up to find out what we were doing and did not threaten to sue us,” he said. 

Last year, the commission had announced that voters nationwide would be issued a notice, seeking confirmation of their addresses registered with it. 

This, said the commission, had been part of a move to weed out phantom or imported voters, who had formed the bulk of complaints from both the ruling and opposition parties. 

Even then, Abdul Rashid said that of 10 verification letters sent out to addresses, nine of them never replied. 

“This showed that the voters are not actually staying at the addresses shown on the roll.” 

Contacted later, Kedah PAS commissioner Azizan Abdul Razak said PAS supporters did not have time to respond to the commission's letter as they had only received theirs on the day of the deadline to respond. 

This was a tactic by the commission to erode the party's support base by “shifting” their voters, he said.  

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