Saturday, February 23, 2008

Malaysian election reform activists threaten mass rally

Malaysian activists have accused electoral authorities of dirty tricks ahead of March 8 polls and are threatening to hold a mass rally in Kuala Lumpur in protest.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) which last November gathered some 30,000 people in the capital to demand reforms, slammed last-minute changes to electoral rules ahead of nomination day Sunday.

They said that opposition candidates, particularly in northern states where Friday and Saturday are holidays, could be disqualified by a rule announced Thursday that they must pay stamp duty on their applications to contest.

"How are opposition candidates in states like Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu supposed to get the stamps especially when Friday and Saturday is the weekend here?" BERSIH organiser Mohammad Sabu told a crowd of 5,000 supporters.

If opposition candidates are disqualified over the issue, "we will get half a million people in KL for several days," he told a rally in northeastern Terengganu state late Friday. MORE HERE

Malaysia's PAS warns of tension ahead of polls: MALAYSIA's Islamic opposition party has warned its supporters could 'run amok' if the election authorities block its candidates from standing in next month's general election. Saying that Malaysia should avoid post-election violence that gripped Kenya, leaders of Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) told a rally late on Friday that the March 8 election could turn into one of the country's dirtiest. 'We anticipate this election will not be free and fair,' party leader Syed Azman Syed Ahmad told the 5,000-strong rally in Kuala Terengganu, the northeastern city that saw a violent anti-government protest last September

Peraturan baru SPR boleh kecohkan hari penamaan calon: Belum pun hari penamaan calon, wibawa Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) khususnya Pengerusi badan tersebut, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman dipertikaikan parti-parti pembangkang. Malah peraturan baru yang dikuatkuasakan pada saat-saat akhir hari penamaan calon bakal menimbulkan kekecohan pada hari penamaan calon, kata Pengerusi Lajnah Guaman dan Undang-Undang PAS Pusat, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin. Ini ekoran arahan yang diterima daripada SPR pada Khamis, 21 Februari lalu agar Surat Akuan Berkanun, Borang 5 (bagi Parlimen) dan 5A (bagi Dewan Undangan Negeri) perlu disertakan dengan stem duti.

ELECTION 2008: Stamp duty requirement in accordance with law, says Commission: The stamp duty requirement for candidates’ statutory declarations for the March 8 general election is in accordance with the law, EC secretary Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor said. It was not implemented to create problems for the candidates, he said in response to a claim that the move was an attempt to disqualify the opposition parties candidates.Kamaruzaman said that the EC has obtained legal advice concerning the implementation on Thursday and has informed all the parties on the same day.

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