In a surprising move, the former Election Commission chairman has decided to become a member of Perkasa, an incendiary ultra-Malay outfit which detractors claim is hell-bent on stoking racial strife.

However, Perkasa, whose patron is former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has denied this accusation, arguing that it is merely defending the special rights accorded to the Malays.

NONEWhile Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga (left) refused to comment on Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman's move to join Perkasa beyond saying that it "evidences his mindset", she however zoomed in on the former EC chief's statements regarding the delineation exercise by the commission when he was in charge.

Abdul Rashid claimed that he joined Perkasa to ensure that the Malays remained as political masters, adding that as a former EC chairman, he knew how to keep the Malays in power.

He revealed that the three re-delineation exercises of electoral borders, which were done during his time with the EC, had ensured Malays remained in power.

Disputing this argument, Ambiga said the question of Malay power did not arise because they formed the majority.

"In any event, some of the delineation that have taken place were to PAS' disadvantage. So I don't accept what he says.

"Perhaps, it would make more sense to say that the delineation benefitted the ruling party. This is what we have always claimed - and he has confirmed it," she told Malaysiakini.

In other words, Ambiga said Abdul Rashid had used different criteria for the delineation other than what was provided by the Federal Constitution.

The Bersih leader stressed that the concern now was whether the present EC was doing the same with regard to its current delineation exercise.

"The present commission must own up or disagree with it (Abdul Rashid's statement). Silence is not an option. I am asking the present EC to come clean on how they are going about it," she said.

Zaid: Malays already have power

Meanwhile, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim described the ex-EC chief's decision to join Perkasa as a blatant admission.

On Abdul Rashid's argument pertaining to keeping the Malays in power, Zaid contended that the Malays already had power, and do not need more.

"What they need to know is how to use this power. What's the point of having power when it leads to abuses?" he asked.

NONEAs for Abdul Rashid's remarks pertaining to the delineation exercise, the former minister said: "It is unfortunate that the former EC chief would speak blatantly about this. Fairness must be a core privilege."

"When you do not have a delineation exercise that is fair... that is not right," Zaid (right) told Malaysiakini.

Abdul Rashid had also claimed that he had joined Perkasa not to seek fortune or power and therefore his motive must not be questioned.

The man, who was once entrusted with ensuring that the electoral process in this nation was fair and scrupulous and was part of the EC for three decades, argued that Malays must remain in political power as the country belonged to them.

"This place was called the Malay Federation (Tanah Persekutuan Melayu) and when we gained independence, it was changed to Malaya and after other states joined us, it again changed to West Malaysia (Malaysia Barat)," he was reported as saying by The Malaysian Insider.

"This land has always belonged to the Malays. It's in the history."