DAP challenges the legality of the Elections Commission’s decision to treble the deposits of Parliamentary and State Assembly candidates.
The following is a copy of the letter Saudara Lim Kit Siang, the DAP secretary-general sent to the chairman of the Elections Commission, Tan Sri Ahmad Perang this morning.
“Dear Tan Sri,
I write to ask you to rescind the Elections Commission decision to treble the deposits for State Assembly candidates from $250 to $750 and for Parliamentary candidates from $250 to $750 and for Parliamentary candidates from $500 to $1500.
Such trebling of candidature deposits will make politics a rich man’s game and bring it beyond the reach of the poor but honest and principled men to try to bring about political changes by the democratic process.
The trebling of the deposits will also give added advantage to National Front parties.
Furthermore I wish to draw your attention to Clause 16 of the Elections Act, 1958, which reads:
16. (1) The Election Commission may with the approval of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung make regulations for the conduct of elections to the Dewan Rakyat and the Legislative Assemblies, and for all matters incidental thereto .
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers the regulations may-
(d) prescribe the amount of any deposit, not exceeding one thousand dollars in each case, to be made by or on behalf of candidates, and the circumstances in which the deposit may be forfeited.
From the above provision, the Elections Commission does not have the legal power to raise the deposit of any candidate beyond $1,000 which means that the new ruling requiring $1,500 for Parliamentary candidates is illegal and open to challenge in any court of law.
Clause 17 of the elections Act 1958 provides that all regulations made by the Elections Commission with regard to the conduct of elections such as the fixing deposits should be laid before the Dewan Rakyat as soon as possible and provided such regulations could be annulled by a resolution of the Dewan Rakyat.
If the new regulations in connection with the trebling of deposits had been laid before the Dewan Rakyat when it met recently from July 17-26, there is no doubt that it would have been vigously opposed. It is unfair that these regulations were made on 30th July so as to by-pass the last session of the Dewan Rakyat.
I urge you therefore to reconsider and rescind the decision to treble the deposits for candidates and to restore the old deposit rates or $25 for State and $500 for Parliamentary candidates.
(Lim Kit Siang)