Tuesday, July 2, 2013

No RCI on GE13 & May 13 racial riots

Minister Shahidan tells Parliament an electoral victory cannot be questioned except through a petition to the High Court.
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has rejected a proposal for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on the 13th general election amid pressure from the British government and local opposition leaders to probe fraud in the May 5 polls. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim, citing Section 118 of the Federal Constitution, said a win by an MP or state assemblyman could be questioned only through an election petition to the High Court.
Shahidan said this in a written parliamentary reply to Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who asked whether the government would initiate RCIs on the general election, the May 1969 riots and deaths in custody and abuse of police power.
Recently, the British Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, called for full investigations of “allegations of irregularities made by the opposition parties and civil society groups” in Malaysia.
The past two months have seen Pakatan Rakyat leaders leading a massive nationwide protest to pressure the Election Commission into resigning over its alleged mishandling of the recent polls. Each component party in the opposition pact has filed election petitions, but their leaders have expressed doubt that they would win the cases due to the high burden of proof required.
Shahidan also dismissed the need for an RCI on custodial deaths and police abuses.
He noted that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) had already set up a task force to look into the matter, using provisions under the EAIC Act 2009 (Act 700).
“The Royal Malaysian Police Force is considered one of the agencies under Act 700,” he said. According to Section 28 of that act, the EAIC can probe any enforcement agency under the act for abuse of power if there is significant public interest.”
He said an RCI on the 1969 race riots was also unnecessary because the tragedy occurred too long ago and remedial action had been taken. “Among [the remedies] was the establishment of the Muhibbah Council to encourage harmony among members of society and the setting up of the National Unity Department to manage and implement policies and activities to inspire inter-racial unity,” said Shahidan.
Related news: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/07/02/RM400mil-spent-to-hold-13th-general-election.aspx

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