Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bersih: NRD's Mismah-gate clarification unacceptable

Bersih: NRD's Mismah-gate clarification unacceptable
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Aug 5, 11

The National Registration Department (NRD)'s explanation of the 'Mismah-gate' is unacceptable as it fails to address the public's concern, said Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan.

Therefore, she supported Pakatan Rakyat MPs' call for an emergency parliamentary sitting this month in order to seek answers for the many questions the scandal's raised.

s ambiga bersih"We haven't actually had any meaningful answer... there has to be accountability on this issue," Ambiga (left) told Malaysiakini during an interview yesterday.

"The answer that they have given us so far is really quite unacceptable."

In a statement on Wednesday, NRD director-general Jariah Mohd Said explained that Mismah, a name found in the latest supplementary electoral roll draft, was granted permanent residency on July 17, 1982, and later citizenship on Jan 31, 2011.

However, the statement failed to shed light on the question of how the NRD online verification system could have categorised Mismah as a permanent resident on Tuesday morning but 'upgraded' her to citizen four hours after a Malaysiakini report.

Jariah was also silent on the PAS allegation of there being 1,597 such cases nationwide.

Ambiga said that Bersih 2.0 had received similar complaints prior to the expose but had not managed to have it proven until the Malaysiakini report was published.

"What I would have expected from the authorities is for them to say 'we think this is serious, we think it must be investigated and we will come back to the public on the issue', but unfortunately all those who have spoken appeared to be defending the indefensible."

Misgivings over biometric system

biometric reader illegal immigrant 1 Ambiga described the issue as something that requires urgent attention and transparency from the NRD, failing which the affair could largely undermine the introduction of the biometric system by the Election Commission (EC).

"It was one of the reasons why we have misgivings about the biometric system, because if we can't even get the database at the NRD right, and there are questions about its integrity, then I really don't know how it can progress to a biometric system."

The issue coupled with the failure of the authority to provide a satisfactory answer, has deepened the confidence crisis faced by the government, warned Ambiga.

NONE"Trust is something that they have to build and the way they can build trust is by being honest with us, it is really quite simple, and by being absolutely transparent with the public."

She reiterated that the EC has to involve the public at every stage of the implementation of the biometric system and keep them updated throughout the process.

"In today's Malaysia, it is not enough for the authority to say 'just trust us'," she stressed.

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