Wednesday, June 16

Proposed amendments for public’s good: Umno man

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KUALA LUMPUR: Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan  said a proposal for  the Election Commission (EC) to amend election regulations was for the good of the people.

He said the proposal made by the commission must have been studied to ensure that general and by-elections could be conducted in a calm and peaceful manner.

“What is good for the flourishment of the democratic process should be done.

“What is important is, it is good for people who want to choose the best candidate as their choice.

“The two tense times of political differences are on nomination day and voting day.

“There are many incidents of violence, confrontations and quarrels on those two days that cause voters to worry about coming out and this is a loss to the people,” he said in a media statement via the short message service to Bernama here.

Ahmad, who is also deputy minister in the prime minister’s department, said this when asked to comment on a statement by EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof who was reported in Utusan Malaysia as saying that the matter was being studied seriously to be tabled in Parliament next year.

Ahmad, who is also Member of Parliament for Pontian, however said the EC proposal needed to be debated and studied especially from the aspect of laws and regulations.

“The enforcement of the regulations are also very important so that what is said in the act can be implemented and not made a laughing stock.

“For example, campaign material that is not ethical, libellous pamphlets and slander still occur and are widespread during campaigns.

“This has all to be seen comprehensively if the amendments are to be tabled” he said.

Besides that, the newspaper report also quoted Abdul Aziz as saying that spreading out the nomination period over three days and having a 24-hour no campaigning period before voting day were amendments to stem chaos and violence by contesting party supporters.

He said if the proposals were accepted, the cooling off period would begin a day before as compared to beginning at midnight before voting began.

The three-day nomination period was to prevent supporters of contesting parties from gathering at the same time.

Abdul Aziz was reported to have said if the propsals were approved those who flout them could be charged under the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 that allows for a fine of not more than RM5,000 and prison of not more than a year. — Bernama