EC chief denies rescinding police report on election offences

Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun (second from right) inspects preparations for the Rantau by-election at a polling centre in SJK (C) Bandar Sri Sendayan April 12,2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun (second from right) inspects preparations for the Rantau by-election at a polling centre in SJK (C) Bandar Sri Sendayan April 12,2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

RANTAU, April 12 — Azhar Azizan Harun expressed disappointment today over a news article claiming the Election Commission withdrew a police report on election offences in Rantau, saying this was not possible by law.

The EC chairman also rejected assertions contained in the report that his commission was seeking to influence the police in the matter.

“I’d like to clarify two things. Firstly the EC are merely enforcers of the electoral process and we are not biased as what some people are saying,” said Azhar when met at SJK (C) Bandar Sri Sendayan after inspecting preparations for tomorrow’s poll.

“So far we have received 16 reports of electoral offences and it’s split between party A and party B with eight offences each,” added Azhar without specifically naming the parties.

The former lawyer also explained that there were no legal provisions to rescind a police report once it has been formally lodged.

He added that it would also have no effect even if the person who filed the report wanted to retract his complaint.

“Once a police reports made no one can withdraw it. Same goes for the EC. We will never interfere with the authorities conducting their investigations,” he said, adding that he hoped the claim will end here.

He went on to say the EC did not plan to take legal action against those accusing it of bias, and that such allegations were to be expected.

On offences detected so far, he said these include campaigning without permits, posting banners of parties not contesting in the Rantau by-election, and putting up material that did not conform to official specifications.

He ended by reminding contesting parties not to violate the end of the campaign period tonight or to harass voters tomorrow.

“I remind the supporters that campaigning ends tonight at 11.59pm and please do not show any provocation on Saturday.”

Tomorrow, Rantau voters will make their choice from among Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Pakatan Harapan’s Dr S. Streram, and independent candidates R. Malarvizhi and Mohd Nor Yasin.