KUALA LUMPUR: Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah yesterday said the commission should not be turned into a target for lies and slander.
He said EC had remained impartial in fulfilling its responsibilities and had maintained its integrity.
Rebutting allegations against the EC by detractors, Hashim said detractors were only looking after their political interests instead of prioritising the people’s needs.
Touching on the electoral boundary delineation proposal, Hashim said it was not done because of political expediency of certain parties.
“It is required by the law under the Federal Constitution.
“A redelineation exercise should take place because there are rural areas that become suburbs and suburbs that turned into towns.
“By redrawing the lines, it will improve the reachability for an elected representative to serve the constituency.
“There is a need to balance out the (growing number of) constituents and the ability for a representative to serve the people. These are among the consideration taken by the EC. We are doing it for the people.”
He said EC had included the public in charting its policies to make EC all the more transparent despite unceasing criticisms.
“They wanted the indelible ink to be part of the polling process. Hence, we made it so.
“They wanted the ink to be dabbed on the finger, but complained when it wore off.
“Now, they can dip their whole index finger into the ink bottle if they want to.
“Back then, we did not have a caravan. Now, we have a few to make it more convenient for the people to register as voters and to check their status.
“The caravans are even modified to allow our men to travel into the interiors.”
Hashim turned a tad emotional when defending his men, citing accusations against the commission as unappreciative towards the sacrifices made to ensure a smooth polling process.
“Why do you have to come after us and call us liars? There are only 800 people working for the commission. We do not have 250,000 staff members.
“The ones on the ground working for the EC are the people (volunteers). Are you saying that the people are lying?
“My late mother would cry in her grave if she knew what the people had accused me of. She did not raise me to be a liar,” Hashim said after a briefing session between the media and EC at the New Straits Times Press’ (NSTP) Balai Berita Bangsar here yesterday.
Present were Deputy EC chairman Tan Sri Othman Mahmood and NSTP editor-in-chief Datuk Yushaimi Yahaya.
Hashim’s detractors, particularly from the opposition camp, had often accused him and the EC as being biased towards Barisan Nasional.
His background as an administration and diplomatic service (PTD) officer who had served in various capacities, including as Umno information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa’s private secretary when the latter was a federal minister. This was also highlighted as a “blot” in his track record.
“Yes, I used to work for him. But, that does not mean I am biased. No. I am a PTD officer. My first and foremost responsibility is to the people. To become a PTD officer, one cannot be biased to any political party.”
He said one of EC’s fervent detractors used to work with the commission, alleging that it did not practise transparency and committed fraud.
“I am perplexed by this person’s allegations. He was the one who had gone through several general elections, while this is my first jump in the fray as EC chairman.
“Those were not the only allegations thrown at us. Back then (in the 13th General Election), there were even allegations of phantom voters — 40,000 Bangladeshi voters (casting ballot papers).
“Now, tell me, where are the official complaints about these Bangladeshi voters? All of these are ludicrous.”