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Sunday September 18, 2011

Envoy doubts citizenship- for-votes claim

PETALING JAYA: Bangladesh High Commis-sioner A.K.M. Atiqur Rahman has expressed his doubts about the possibility of Bangladeshi workers being conferred citizenship status in exchange for voting for the ruling Government in the next general election.

“I have not seen the website but I don't think that such a thing can be true,” he said when contacted.

He was referring to an online news portal which reported a website for a unit in the Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office claimed it had received confirmation from Bangladeshi workers here that they were given the right to vote.

The portal had ran the statement as saying that “the Prime Minister's office had allegedly received confirmation from some of their citizens working in several sectors in Malaysia since last year that they were given more than citizenship from the Malaysian Government.”

It went on to say that “in fact, they now have been given a right to be voters in the upcoming Malaysian general election.”

The statement also alleged that another “highly-placed source” from its Prime Minister's office had confirmed that Bangladeshi workers might be easily conferred Malaysian citizenship on condition they vote for the party in power.

A check by The Star at 4pm showed that the Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office's NGO Affairs Bureau website (http://www.ngoab.gov.bd/) did not have the statement.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has refuted all possibility of such an occurrence, with its deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar describing it as “real nonsense”.

Calling it a scam, he said this was a “great insult” to the National Registration Department and the Malaysian Government.

Voicing his disbelief that such an allegation could come from a genuine Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office unit website, he said it was “probably planted propaganda” to discredit the Government.

“How can Bangladeshi workers come in with a working permit and get citizenship? This is a very serious accusation,” he said.

Wan Ahmad said the EC's system to register voters was very strict, with only genuine MyKad particulars accepted into its system.

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