DAP charges political interference in the fixing of long by-election dates by Elections Commission

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Monday, Nov, 11, 1985:

DAP charges political interference in the fixing of long by-election dates by Elections Commission

The Election Commission has fixed Jan. 24 and 25for by-elections in the four Sabah State constituencies of Karamunting, Balung, Sukau and Buang Sayang.

I am shocked and surprised that the Election Commission has fixed such a long date for the four Sabah by-elections, which is completely against the usual practice of the Elections Commission.

The ‘registrations’ of the four Assemblymen were sent to the Elections Commission by the Sabah State Assembly Speaker, Tan Sri Sunoh Marso, on Oct. 30. This means that there will be an unprecedented 86 days between registration on Oct. 30 and polling on Jan. 25.

Although the Constitution allows elections by-elections in Sabah and Sarawak to be conducted within 90 days of dissolution or the arising of the vacancy, this will be the longest date between resignation and polling fixed by Elections Commission since the 1970s, and may even be the longest in Malaysian electoral history.

The first Tambunan by-election would have been held within 55 days, counting form the announcement of Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s forced resignation on August 19, 1984 and the polling date of Oct. 13, 1984. However, the first by-lection date was cancelled following the granting of a court injunction against the by-election two days before polling on Oct. 11, 1984.

But when the supreme Court set aside the injunction on Nov. 28, the Elections Commission only took 30 days to set the second Tambunan by-election date, namely polling on the now historic Dec. 29 for the Tambunan by-election.

I believe that the Elections Commission would have fixed Nomination dates for the four by-elections in early December and polling in late December if there had been no political interference to fix long dates for the four by-elections. The fixing of long dates to keep the four seats vacant for the longest possible time world, in the minds of some, help to destabilise the PBS State Government of Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

The DAP is very concerned by the fixing of such unprecedented long-dates for the four Sabah by-elections, which would indicate that the independence of the Elections Commission is being compromised in the protracted political and constitutional crisis in Sabah.

Call on Prime Minister to announce respect for PBS’ decision not to form a coalition

Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s announcement on Friday night in Kota Kinabalu that the PBS would not form a coalition a week after he indicated to the Prime Minister that he would consider suggestions for a coalition, should be fully respected by all parties concerned.

I would call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to publicly announce the Federal Government’s respect for the PBS’ decision not to form a coalition, and to help the Sabah State Government get on with the task of governing the state.

The Federal government should reciprocate the repeated declaration of intent of the Sabah State Government to work closely with the Federal government, and establish working committees comprising representatives from both the Federal and Sabah State Governments to strengthen Federal-Sabah relationship in the promotion of greater national integration among the various states in the country.