Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Anwar: S’gor to opt out if polls in Nov

Anwar: S’gor to opt out if polls in Nov

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | September 12, 2012
Anwar Ibrahim says the PKR-led state administration will not hold simultaneous elections until the electoral roll is cleaned.

PETALING JAYA: Selangor will not hold simultaneous polls for state seats if the 13th general election is held this November, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said today.

The PKR de facto leader said the decision was made and backed by Pakatan Rakyat’s top leadership following the failure by the Election Commission to clean up the state’s electoral roll.

Pakatan leaders claimed federal ruling coalition Barisan Nasional aims to recapture the country’s most industrialised state through cheating – with some 500,000 fake names allegedly filling up the roll.

Most are purportedly migrant workers given citizenship in exchange for votes.

“The problem in Selangor is specific. There are hundreds of thousands of dubious names in the (state’s) electoral roll and the EC has failed to address our concerns,” Anwar told reporters after attending Pakatan’s presidential council meeting here.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister and presently Selangor’s economic advisor, said the inaction on the complaints strengthens allegations of bias against the EC, especially that it had refused cooperation with the Selangor government despite its offer of financial help to clean up the roll.

The credibility of the electoral roll has been widely questioned since a Parliamentary Select Committee was set up late last year to look into electoral improvements.

Polls delay for Kedah?

The panel completed its six-month tenure and submitted its findings to parliament in the last session but the opposition and civil society groups have criticised it for lacking specific recommendations on how to clean up the voter registry.

PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali speaking at the same press conference claimed the EC had refused to meet a Pakatan delegation on the matter and described the snub as disappointing.

“We back Selangor’s decision not to hold simultaneous polls… they (EC) seemed to have excuses for everything saying they have all the explanations for the concerns raised,” he said.

Mustafa also revealed that PAS-led Kedah has yet to reach a decision if it wants to hold elections or delay it should national polls be held soon.

Meanwhile Anwar said Pakatan will hold its election convention early November to detail out the bloc’s electoral preparations.

Words are going around that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is looking at a November date for polls in what appears to be a move to allow space for the 2013 Budget – set to be tabled on Sept 28 – to trickle down to key constituents.

Anwar said they are hoping to hold the “mega convention” at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

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